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Story Of A New Name (2014)

by Elena Ferrante(Favorite Author)
4.41 of 5 Votes: 1
1609451473 (ISBN13: 9781609451479)
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L'amica geniale
review 1: The second book in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan trilogy is every bit as captivating as the first. The best friendships are indeed complicated, and what Ferrante does so brilliantly is expose the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways our identities are shaped by the deepest of friendships. Elena, the one telling the story, presents herself as existing in the shadow of her brilliant friend, Lila. And, yet, she's the one who manages to move on, from small-town life to a larger world view--always surprising herself (if not the reader) with an insight re: Lila's influence. Even their nicknames -- Lenu and Lina -- suggest an intricately intertwined existence. There's love, there's rivalry, there's complicity, there's irony -- all of which make the evolution of their personal story a v... moreehicle for the changing political/social landscape of the time and place in which they live.
review 2: I'm sure hindsight will push this up to the five star level, and four stars is certainly a high mark, but this installment was a bit slower. Which seems about right; My Brilliant Friend was sixteen years in 350 pages, whereas the present novel spends about 200 on one summer. A particularly momentous summer, true, but considering how economical Ferrante had been to this point (and quickly resumes once the episode ends) it's a bit of a stick of gum in the works. This does nothing to dull my enthusiasm for the series or Ferrante; even at her slowest, her precise measurement of the admiration and loathing present during any long-term friendship is thrilling and revealing. I could also relate to the emerging class resentment in Elena's character; that sense that she had worked as hard as anyone to obtain a degree into the upper ranks of society, but still felt she couldn't avoid the stink of her past, nor could she truly return home. (One line in particular stuck out at me: "Naples had been very useful in Pisa, but Pisa was of no use in Naples; it was an obstacle.") This is made explicit when a professor at her college asked if she'd considered teaching. Elena, who passed her exams with high marks, is elated someone is suggesting professorship, an important position in the upper-middle class. The professor instead meant as a primary school teacher, a station more befitting of her background. What a great book, what a great writer. less
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I love this series. Very excited to learn that there's another book coming in English next year!
All three books were captivating.
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