Love Letters to Authors - Elena Ferrante

Dear Elena,

Many love you because you're unavailable. Despite international acclaim, you have firmly chosen to remain out of the public eye, concealing your true identity and writing under a pseudonym. You choose this in part because, as you've said, "Books, once they are written, have no need of their authors." How can we not be intrigued and seduced by you?

Your Neapolitan novels focus on the lives of two girls, Lenu, our narrator, and her brilliant friend, Lila. Both grow up poor in Naples, Italy during the aftermath of WWII. The books follow the pair's divergent paths to adulthood; one becomes upwardly mobile through education and the other struggles for autonomy and a better life in their poor neighborhood. The book is just as much about the shifting political, economic, and cultural forces at play in Italy during this period. These potentially intimidating themes are brought back to earth by delivering them through the lives and experiences of the two extraordinary characters and their evolving relationship.

Your work is enormous in its scope and deeply layered, while still managing to be relatable. The Neapolitan Novels are about the nuances of friendship and intimacy between women as much as they're about the epic struggle for autonomy and agency in a deeply unequal and shifting society. You have written a book that is unsentimental yet has a great, bursting heart, a series that explores the light and dark of friendship and the machinations of power. You capture the intense interior experiences of living in a society that works to confine you, and you also beautifully articulate the divine rage and rebellion which seethes within those subject to these oppressive experiences. You have written a 'serious' piece of literature with cover art that is unapologetically feminine.

Elena Ferrante, I love you because your work is transcendent. You defy definition and you irreverently rebel against attempts to categorize your writing. You gave me a new understanding of what art can be.

— Colleen

 

My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609450786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2012

The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609451349
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 3rd, 2013

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neapolitan Novels, Book Three Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609452339
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 2nd, 2014