Last night I finished reading the second novel in the Neapolitan Trilogy by Italian author, Elena Ferrante. I barely even want to write this post because I know I won't be able to do this book justice!
It's an exceptional novel and rare in its style, subject, and depiction. The scope of the novel, a Neapolitan city and its inhabitants throughout the years, is so broad that it seems like a large undertaking to write about but Ferrante does it with ease! It feels as if this is the story of her life because she writes with such simplicity. Even though its a deep, at times disturbing and unnerving, depiction of a girl's life, it reads easily. It's natural and organic, I've never read another novel that is written so perfectly.
Some readers might initially be turned off by the subject matter of this book. It's vague, does not include crazy plot twists, mysteries, or extreme scandals. This places the novel in its own category and excellently portrays the author's skill as a writer. She makes this depiction of daily life engrossing and impossible to escape. As you read, you are placed in Naples in a time that is so unlike our own. The characters are tangible and complex. You want to get under their skin to know what makes them behave as they do.
I'm not going to go into plot because that would take a long time (I'd have to talk about the first book in the series, too) but I can't praise this book enough! This is a book everyone should have and should read cover to cover, again and again. It's not just a novel, it's a life and one that should be known and recalled.
The first book in the series, "My Brilliant Friend," is just as good as this one and, unlike the typical issue of sequels being huge let downs, that's not the case here! And the third and final book, "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay," will be published September 2nd. "My Brilliant Friend" and "The Story of a New Name" are perfect reads for this summer and will leave you ready for the last book by September.