Vanity Fair

Ferrante for Kids, The Harvard Lampoon’s Best, and More Books to Read This Month

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Unless you’re a doll. The Beach at Night (Europa) is Elena Ferrante’s children’s fable (first published in Italian almost a decade ago). The story is narrated by Celina, a doll who also appeared in Ferrante’s novel The Lost Daughter. Forgotten by her owner, Mati, Celina must spend the night facing the solitude and terrors of an unfamiliar world, all while grappling with her jealousy over Mati’s new kitten. Because this story is for children, all will be sewn up neatly in the end. But because it’s Ferrante’s conception of childhood, we won’t get there without a little heart pummeling. Nothing says “holiday cheer” quite like abandonment issues.