Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tuesday Intro: The Story of the Lost Child


Maturity 
1.
From October 1976 until 1979, when I returned to Naples to live, I avoided resuming a steady relationship with Lila. But it wasn't easy. She almost immediately tried to reenter my life with force, and I ignored her, tolerated her, endured her. Even if she acted as if there were nothing she wanted more than to be close to me at a difficult moment, I couldn't forget the contempt with which she had treated me. 
Today I think that if it had been only the insult that wounded me - You're an idiot, she had shouted on the telephone when I told her about Nino, and she had never, ever spoken to me like that before - I would have soon calmed down. In reality, what mattered more than that offense was the mention of Dede and Elsa. Think of the harm you are doing to your daughters, she had warned me, and at that moment I had paid no attention. But over time those words acquired greater weight, and I returned to them often. Lila had never displayed the slightest interest in Dede or Elsa; almost certainly she didn't even remember their names. If, on the phone, I mentioned some intelligent remark they made, she cut me off, changed the subject. And when she met them for the first time, at the house of Marcello Solara, she had confined herself to an absentminded glance and a few pat phrases - she hadn't paid the least attention to how nicely they were dressed, how neatly their hair was combed, how well both were able to express themselves, although they were both still small. And yet I  had given birth to them, I  had brought them up, they were part of me, who had been her friend forever: she should have taken this into account - I won't say out of affection, but at least out of politeness - for my maternal pride. Yet she hadn't even attempted a little good-natured sarcasm; she had displayed indifference and nothing more. Only now - out of jealousy, surely, because I had taken Nino - did she remember the girls, and wanted to emphasize that I was a terrible mother, that although I was happy, I was causing them unhappiness. The minute I thought about it I became anxious. Had Lila worried about Gennaro when she left Stefano, when she abandoned the child to the neighbor because of her work in the factory, when she sent him to me as if to get him out of the way? Ah, I had my faults, but I was certainly more a mother than she was.
The Story of the Lost Child
by Elena Ferrante

The two paragraphs above are actually the entire first chapter of this book, the fourth and final installment of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Novels. If the first 25 chapters are any indication, this may be the best one yet. I am enthralled.

The blurb includes spoilers, but this portion describes the series in general:
Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery uncontainable Lila. In this book, both are adults; life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship, examined in its every detail over the course of four books, remains the gravitational center of their lives.
Are you tempted by these novels?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

32 comments:

  1. I loved this intro...and have heard lots of good things about this series...I'd keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah - I think you would like the series!

      Delete
  2. Love love the intro and i'm 2 books behind in this series, but definitely plan on reading them all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane - I'm so happy you introduced me to this author!

      Delete
  3. I am very tempted. I've heard so many good things about this series. I purchased an ebook copy of book 1--all I need is to find the time to read it and continue on in the series. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine - The first book in the series is very good, but the second is even better!

      Delete
  4. After reading Chapter 1, I can see it may take another couple of chapters to refresh my memory to get back to where Book 3 left off. After all, quite a few books have inhabited my brain since then. :-) Do you think we will ever learn the author's real name? Perhaps it will make no difference at all whether we do or not, unless this person is already famous under another name. I think they are trying to dodge the hassles of celebrity, and have a greater amount if personal privacy, and in this day and time, who can blame them for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JudyMac - I'd forgotten some of the details, too, but it all comes back very quickly. The author seems determined to keep his/her identity a secret... that definitely adds intrigue, but I respect the decision.

      Delete
  5. I am tempted by what you've shared about this series. Think I need to get the first book and begin. So glad to hear that your enjoying this one so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay - The kindle version of the first book was only $2.99 recently... it may still be ;-)

      Delete
  6. I definitely want to read more! What resonates with me: The passages about how hurtful the friend's remarks were, as there have been times when nothing stayed with me more than a friend's declarations that came across as insults.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laure-Rain Snow - So much of the author's writing shows how deeply she/he understands human nature. I can't get enough!

      Delete
  7. I've enjoyed your posts about these books and this final one does sound good. The opening you shared is something I can relate too--those feelings described. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Literary Feline - There are many, many passages that seem to strike a chord... readers definitely understand and relate.

      Delete
  8. I think I'd enjoy this series. However, knowing nothing about the characters, at first I thought the point-of-view character was a man. I saw nothing to indicate that the character was a woman until far into the second paragraph. I do enjoy stories of enduring friendships and I think I'd enjoy these books if I started with Book One.
    Thank you for visiting my blog today. Your comments are appreciated.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra - I've never read a tale of friendship quite like this.

      Delete
  9. Love this intro it is one I can definitely relate to. Thanks for visiting my Tuesday post :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cleo - Yes, I think Ferrante really gets it.

      Delete
  10. This looks interesting, I like the aprt of the blurb that says "life's great discoveries have been made"- for some reason that appealed to me. Obviously at a mature stage of their lives, and dealing with old resentments as a lifelong (?) friendship. Hope it's a great read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg - Funny... that was the phrase that really stood out for me, too. Loving the book so far!

      Delete
  11. You've talked me into adding this series to my TBR and this intro definitely has me wanting to move the series up the list. I'd definitely keep reading!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This one is on my wish list, so I'm really loving the first chapter. I didn't realize this was part of a series! Definitely, keep reading. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - I thought it was going to be a 3 book series, but this is the 4th and final one.

      Delete
  13. You've talked me into reading them as well. From Barsetshire to Naples...why not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey - You will be amazed at the contrast!

      Delete
  14. This is a new book to me, but it sounds very good. I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am eager to check this trilogy out! So many good reviews!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athira - It does seem like almost everyone loves it.

      Delete
  16. Oh yes I'm very tempted by these novels. And mostly it's been through your reviews and championing of them. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thecuecard - The writing is really something special in these books. I'm impressed with the translator, too!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

I understand commenting has been a challenge lately, so will now allow anonymous comments. However, I will moderate comments on older posts. Sorry for the inconvenience.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails