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The Story of the Lost Child (2014)

by Elena Ferrante

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Neapolitan Novels (4)

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1,706787,174 (4.27)116
Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; many of life's great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women's friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up-a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received novels. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Nearness to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, and unforgettable. Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long, remarkable story that listeners will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.… (more)

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» See also 116 mentions

English (63)  German (5)  Italian (4)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
(41) The conclusion to Ferrante's 'Neopolitan Series' is just about the best of them, I think. Elena returns to the old neighborhood so things come full circle. Her affair with Nino (he gives new meaning to the word smarmy) and the rekindling of her and Lina's friendship is fun to read. I don't want to spoil so I won't go much in to the plot, but the city of Naples and corruption figure in to Lenu and Lina's middle aged lives, loves, and losses.

Ferrante has a very frenetic way of writing that can be tedious at times, but really in the end feels so immediate and honest that the books have been a pleasure to read. Lena's constant self-doubt and inability to let her friendship with Lila just be and her bizarre approach to motherhood - there were times when I wanted to chop Lenu in throat just like her mother would have! And then the end. . . Really, that's it. I guess artistically I can appreciate but I wanted so much more.

Overall, I am glad I read the series. They were not nail biters to be sure. It took me close to two years to get to all of them. But yet, there was something addicting about them especially Naples and the old neighborhood. . . I will be looking for the HBO series. ( )
  jhowell | Aug 27, 2020 |
what do I do with my life now that I'm done these novels? ( )
  jasbathehutt | Jul 30, 2020 |
I didn't realize at first that Elena Ferrante's "The Story of a Lost Child" was the last in a quartet. Even so, I really enjoyed the story of Elena and her relationships with her friends, family, lover and daughters. There is enough drama between all those people to sustain a nicely paced novel.

I certainly am interested in going back and reading the earlier books in the series. ( )
  amerynth | Jun 15, 2020 |
I listened to the italian audiobook, and it was fabulous. The actress who gave the voice to the protagonists was perfectly chosen.
I am still with Lila...wherever she may be :) ( )
  MissYowlYY | Jun 12, 2020 |
Now what am I supposed to do with myself?! ( )
  jshttnbm | May 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Ferrante evokes this unforgiving and opaque culture with great power. Its malevolence affects almost everyone.
 
Ferrante’s accomplishment in these novels is to extract an enduring masterpiece from dissolving margins, from the commingling of self and other, creator and created, new and old, real and whatever the opposite of real may be.
 
[Ferrante] has charted, as precisely as possible, the shifts in one person’s feelings and perceptions about another over time, and in so doing has made a life’s inferno recede even as she captures its roar.
 
Elena brings up every objection to the entire endeavour that a reader might have. If it is so-called auto-fiction then why is it not a mess, like life? If it is the story of a friendship then isn’t every word a betrayal to that friend? If it is sincere and authentic, why is the author’s name on the cover a lie? Borders between autobiography and fiction dissolve, just as the edges of Lila (both her sanity and her body) blur, and Elena provides a continual commentary on this process. Rather than this being annoying and meta, the effect is to make the writing feel alive.
 
Ferrante is no Balzac or Dickens or Trollope; she is not Zola or Tolstoy. Her narrator does not have the storyteller’s wider vision. Unlike War and Peace, Ferrante’s big book has a narrow lens, and her idea of friendship is more about shared experience than affection.
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ferrante, Elenaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Damien, ElsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldstein, AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krieger, KarinÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laake, Marieke vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A partire dall'ottobre 1976 e fine a quando, nel 1979, non tornai a vivere a Napoli, evitai di riallacciare rapporti stabili con Lila.
From October 1976 until 1979, when I returned to Naples to live, I avoided resuming a steady relationship with Lila.
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There is this presumption, in those who feel destined for art and above all literature: we act as if we had received an investiture, but in fact no one has ever invested us with anything, it is we who have authorized ourselves to be authors and yet we are resentful if others say: This little thing you did doesn't interest me, in fact it bores me, who gave you the right.
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Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; many of life's great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women's friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up-a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received novels. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Nearness to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, and unforgettable. Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long, remarkable story that listeners will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.

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