Ferrante charts Giovanna's passage from obliging girlhood to teenage rebellion as she rejects her parents' values in the search for her own identity. An exhilaratingly honest coming-of-age tale alive to the mercurial passions of adolescence. Moves from June.
This is the first of Ferrante’s novels I have read in the original Italian (Goldstein’s English version will be published next June). Ferrante’s own voice feels exactly like the one I already know. The rhythms of her prose are just as Goldstein reproduces them. It’s not just that her narrative strategies are familiar – the thrilling shock when a storyline swings on a trivial detail; the tremendously suggestive lacunae. The intricate sentences full of subtle shifts of tone; the brusque, forceful dialogue – all are here. So, too, is the compelling storytelling. Ferrante’s fans may be surprised by this book – by its narrow focus and its stringent tone – but they are likely to fall again under her spell.
Giovanna’s growing resilience and her discovery of one man she can put on a pedestal carries the book as it picks up speed with a flurry of denouements right to the last page. This book gives the world a new Naples heroine and a hint that another quartet of novels might be in the works, as well as showing that five years on Elena Ferrante can still deliver.