Sunday, April 30, 2017

I Was Swept Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Girls, I have been on the fence, with this whole Elena Ferrante thing.  I am not so much caught up with who she is--hell, I don't even care if she is a man, or a monkey, just randomly pounding on a keyboard!!!!!!!!!!!--as I am with quality.  The first volume of the Neapolitan Quartet, "My Brilliant Friend," a lyrical evocation of childhood so moving and poetic, the reader felt right beside Elena and Lila, completely captivated me, so that I could not wait to get my hands on "The Story Of A New Name."  With that novel, with the girls slowly moving from childhood into maturity, some momentum, I thought, was lost, and with it, some interest.  So, I did not pick up Volume Three, until recently.

                                         Here, I am happy to report, the momentum returns.  Sexuality, career, men, social protest movements, the changing times as the Sixties evolve into the Seventies, all make for more interesting backdrops for the two friends to be placed against.  Lila remains fiercely ambivalent about who she is in relation to Elena, while Elena enters the world of marital disillusionment and childbirth, demonstrating as much of a spine with personal issues as academic.

                                           The strength and satisfaction of this novel I was not prepared for.  Like the first book, it made me want to go on to the next.  It is my hope that the quartet will end with a glorious bang, the same way it began.  Will I go on to more Ferrante?  Unless she writes more about these characters, probably not.  It doesn't matter, as she has written the closest thing to a feminized Proust--while not on that lofty a level--that I have read.

                                               And, of course, the reader, on completing Ferrante, will want a big Italian meal, with wine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                Mangia, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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