WIT month My lack of #Ferrantefever

Well I decide today to go back and reread the first and second of what is now a quartet of books by the mysterious Italian writer Elena Ferrante , yes reread as I read the first book in the set around the time it came out as I was sent the proof , but for me it was ok , I frankly didn’t get the hype from others (although always weary of hype ).Now was it fact that I maybe read it at the wrong time ? well now I a deep in a month of mainly female writers it  may help as I do mainly read male writers , so maybe the book may conect more as I have read more female voices this last three weeks than in the last five years  .Another thought is maybe she just  isn’t the writer for me we can’t like every writer cane we  ? well a second crack of the whip may help me decide .I remember thinking that she had set the scene well but at time of the first reading I maybe did race through it as it was one I had maybe thought I would like , did I set my level to high in that case .Anyway for me as a reader and fan of translated fiction I hate to not be getting  one of the big stars of translated fiction at the moment , so lets hope it is second time round for me .As this evening I dive into My brilliant friend

What did you like about Ferrante , maybe if I see what others like it may help me get in to it ?


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. AS
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:05:49

    I have not read the quartet of books, but I DEVOURED Days of Abandonment. It’s slender and very dark with an absurd sense of humor. I hope you’ll give it a try!


  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:07:01

    I’ve not read any of them Stu, and I’ll be interested in your thoughts. I confess all the hype actually tends to put me off reading them…!


  3. naomifrisby
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:17:36

    For me it’s the depiction of female friendship (which I realise might not have the same impact on you). It’s the most realistic portrayal I’ve read since Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood.


  4. poppypeacockpens
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:23:29

    I’ve only read her 3 novellas and have to say was blown away with her dark, awkward, uncomfortable yet utterly compelling raw narratives… and kooky unlikeable frank protagonists. I’ve got the Neopolitans lined up for later in month so will be interesting to compare and very interested in how you find them second time round… have you read any of the novellas?

    Also curious to see if reading a lot more female writers has affected your preconceptions & perceptions – will it affect future book choices outwith initiatives like #WITMonth?


    • winstonsdad
      Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:27:06

      I do wonder time will tell with what I buy I do buy a lot more male writers in translation but lit of time all that is on offer but may have to try hard and find female writers second hand


  5. hastanton
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 17:35:05

    O I hope you enjoy it more 2nd time around . I’ve read all 4 now and can only echo what Naomi said ….she also charts the rocky political journey of Italy , which I found fascinating , as well as the impact of feminism on women’s lives in the latter half of the 20th Century . I was gripped from the very start …..despite the hype !


  6. A Little Blog of Books
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 20:47:21

    Like Naomi, I enjoyed the depiction of female friendship too. I also liked the non-touristy view of 20th century Italy and the structure of the story too – I don’t know how deliberate it was but it really felt like Ferrante was only showing the scenes which were the most important if that makes sense. I’ve only read My Brilliant Friend so far but will be reading the other volumes this month too. I can see why you would be put off my hype but in my view, it’s much more justified here than for lots of other books I can think of…


  7. Max Cairnduff
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 20:59:39

    Days is supposed to be pretty good. I have a Ferrante review at mine of another one which to be honest I wasn’t that impressed by, so while I will read more it’ll probably be a while before I do.


  8. Olga
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 02:45:26

    I read books 1 and 2 and while I found them very entertaining, I did not feel moved, overwhelmed, excited or any other of those things that you feel when you come across a great book.

    I agree with Naomi about the depiction of friendship (I would argue, not necessarily female though). I also thought that some aspects of growing up, judging yourself against others, making stupid mistakes, trying to grab life with both hands were portrayed very well in book 2. But again, I believe there are other books where the same subjects are addressed in more poignant, subtle or unusual way.

    I also found Lila’s character rather implausible – I hope she turns out to be fiction by the end of book 4:)

    Great choice of subject for a Friday post, Stu! Looking forwards to your thoughts on re-read.


  9. JacquiWine
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 06:23:27

    I’ll be very interested to hear your thoughts once you’ve revisited the Neapolitan novels, Stu. Like Naomi and one or two others, I was struck by the portrayal of female friendship and those little shifts in the power dynamics between Lila and Elena. Ferrante’s portrait of Naples is very vivid. I think she captures the spirit very effectively, the way the neighbourhood is governed by unwritten rules and inter-family rivalries.

    Days of Abandonment is very different to the tetralogy – there’s a review at mine if you’re looking for another view.


  10. BookerTalk
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 10:18:27

    I’ve not read anything by her. Curiosity got the better of me today when I saw a Kindle deal of My Brilliant Friend for £1.99 so despite the huge fuss about this (which tends to put me off reading a book) I thought I couldn’t go wrong at that price


  11. heavenali
    Aug 08, 2015 @ 20:23:04

    Hype usually puts me off too – but was intrigued and have now read two of the quartet. I have really liked them, I like the vibrant sense of place in the novels and the exploration of what are really quite complex characters.


  12. Anokatony
    Aug 09, 2015 @ 16:15:01

    I like Elena Ferrante, because she is an obviously intelligent person who is trying to make some sense of her very normal background. I identify with her, because I
    too was always the brain in a neighborhood that didn’t value brains at all. I’ve read the first three and am awaiting four. Also I’ve read two others of her novels so am a total Elena Ferrante fan.
    She brings her old neighborhood alive.


  13. sakura
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 12:26:26

    Loved this book and am currently in the middle of the third volume (I’m reading that slowly in anticipation of the fourth). I think it’s pretty accurate in its portrayal of female friendship, warts and all. But it pretty much divided my book group!


  14. beckylindroos
    Aug 22, 2015 @ 21:51:51

    Yes, I’ve read them all (except #4) as they became available and for me the enjoyment comes from the connection between the friends – their similarities and their differences. And it’s more than that – it’s also the way in which Ferrante, over the course of the novels, captures the sense of a changing neighborhood and world. Brilliant imo, especially the first and second books –


  15. Trackback: That was August on winstonsdad | Winstonsdad's Blog
  16. lolarusa
    Sep 07, 2015 @ 17:15:32

    Hello Winston’s Dad! I’ve read My Brilliant Friend, and agree that it portrays something about friendship, and about childhood, that I found very moving. Specifically, the sense that a girl – or any child – has that fateful events over which she has little control are occurring, and they will determine the course of her life. And the friendship between the girls is like the real bond between lifelong friends, complete with its strange competitiveness and cruelty – not the pretty, sentimental thing you often encounter in fictional friendships. It’s shaped by the restrictions of their nation and neighborhood and families – all the things they can’t choose, the unfairness that they have to deal with in order to cope. The strain that circumstance puts on their friendship is something that I strongly identified with.


  17. lolarusa
    Sep 07, 2015 @ 17:16:46

    Also, the ending is devastating, and made me want to get the second book as soon as possible.


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August 2015


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