The story of the Lost child by Elena Ferrante






The story of the Lost child by Elena Ferrante

Italian fiction

Original title – Storia della bambina perduta

Translator – Ann Goldstein

Source – Personnel copy

Score B+ last of a four part series of two women growing up in Modern Italy works as a standalone novel just interesting insight into being a writer and woman in Modern Italy.

Now when the longlist was announced I am sure there was one book each of us shadow folks hoped wouldn’t be on the longlist. Well for me it was this book. I have read My brilliant friend and part read The story of a new name, but haven’t quite got swept up with the world of Ferrante. That said the other side of her as a writer that has shunned the limelight and the fact people are now trying to piece together parts of this series of books to find out who she is, I find great. There was a recent piece in an Italian newspaper where A professor had taken dates and references in the books to events and worked out a year the writer could have been at university at that time and came up with a name of a professor of history, who has denied she is Elena Ferrante so the hunt carries on.

The evening was spoiled. Nino said it was my mother in law who told Lila that I was in Naples. He spoke with great embarrassment, choosing his words carefully, emphasizing points like: she didn’t have my address; she asked my sister for the phone number of my colleague; she telephoned a little before I was to leave for the station; I didn’t tell you right away because I was afraid you would get angry and our day would be ruined. He concluded, desolate

Early on Elena still has problems with Lila from the past .

Well this last book brings the two woman who have been at the heart of the four books into the modern age. Elena and Lila are now two grown up woman far different from the ones I read in the first part of the books Elena who was always the clever one is now a fully fledged writer, her narrative in this book I really enjoyed two-fold as it seemed Ferrante was toying with a writer most unlike her one that is in the public eye. Lila meanwhile has left her background but is still the fighter I remember in the first book but in this book has a distance from her old friend at the start of the book . But here at a point  she has left disappeared  and Elena is remembering their past and trying to find her in the present. This shows how the two have always been like two trains on different tracks but at certain points in their life to run close together and other be miles apart and then even nearly hit each others at some point. How does a friendship live through more than fifty year ?

That I had a sort of double identity was true. Up on via Tasso Nino brought me  is educated friends, who treated me with respect, loved my second book in particular, wanted me to look at what they were working on. We talked late into the night with an attitude of worldliness. we wondered if there was still a proletariat or not, we alluded to the socialist left and with bitterness, to the communists ( They’re more cops than the cops and the priests)

I love the line about double identity as Ferrante has been doing this for years.

Well I must admit I liked this more than I had thought I would it made me miss that I hadn’t read all the books. But for me this last book is maybe the best it seems Ferrante in some ways has maybe read Knausgaard and partly used his style of self confession in this last volume with the looking back at the earlier events they seem much more touched be a real childhood than in the first book. Maybe this is just me but given Ferrante seems very well read it is so far-fetched she had read him and he had influenced this last book. Does it deserve to be one the longlist well yes these books should have been  on the longlist before so this last volume deserves to be here as the three other books should have made the longlist. For me this will make actual shortlist who knows she may even be at the shortlist party next week !



17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 10:00:36

    I must admit all the hype about these has actually put me off reading them! Maybe one day if I have the spare time…. 🙂


  2. Sarah
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 11:34:42

    I read the first book for my book group without knowing anything of the hype. I was really excited by the writing as it felt so different from any of the contemporary fiction I’d read in a long time. It was visceral and threatening to erupt at any point – so dramatic! I have the next two in the series which I really want to read (along with a zillion others in my TBR *sigh*) but it certainly sounds like it’s worth cracking on with those just to get to this one!


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  4. Lisa Hill
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 12:24:33

    Good on you, Stu, I knew you were not keen on reading this one so I’m pleased you were able to enjoy it after all.
    It does show, though, that hype can be an author’s worst enemy….


  5. vicky blake
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 17:24:10

    I loved these books and read them all back to back. Like Sarah says above I found them visceral and dramatic and addictive. I was hooked.


  6. Paul Fulcher
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 20:01:17

    I’m a massive fan of the books as well.

    But not of the attempt to find out who she is. She chose to remain anonymous so people focused on her novels – we (press, readers) should respect that.


  7. JacquiWine
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 06:27:20

    I’m a big fan of these novels as well. I loved the way the dynamics between Lila and Elena, all the little shifts in their relationship over the years. Plus the series gives a brilliant insight into the Neapolitan culture and neighbourhood over the years. I’m glad you liked this final book a little more than you had expected


  8. JacquiWine
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 06:30:28

    *I loved the dynamics between..


  9. Col
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 08:20:25

    I’ve read three so far so still got one to go. Have really enjoyed them so far though so expecting to like this too. Read recently that when Ferrante agreed to advise on film of My Brilliant Friend she did so on proviso she will only communicate with producer and director by email!


  10. 1streading
    Apr 11, 2016 @ 18:48:46

    Glad you enjoyed this – I’ve read the series and feel the first and final volumes are the best (perhaps that’s not surprising).
    And reading this requires less prior knowledge than Death by Water…


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April 2016


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