Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Intro: The Lost Daughter


1
I had been driving for less than an hour when I began to feel ill. The burning in my side came back, but at first I decided not to give it any importance. I became worried only when I realized that I no longer had the strength to hold onto the steering wheel. In the space of a few minutes my head became heavy, the headlights grew dimmer; soon I even forgot that I was driving. I had the impression, rather, of being at the sea, in the middle of the day. The beach was empty, the water was calm, but on a pole a few meters from shore a red flag was waving.  When I was a child, my mother had frightened me, saying, Leda, you must never go swimming if you see a red flag: it means the sea is rough and you might drown. That fear had endured through the years, and even now, although the water was a sheet of translucent paper stretching to the horizon, I didn't dare go in: I was anxious. I said to myself, go on, swim: they must have forgotten the flag, and meanwhile I stayed on the shore, cautiously testing the water with the tip of my toe. Only at intervals my mother appeared at the top of the dunes and shouted to me as if I were still a child: Leda, what are you doing, don't you see the red flag? 
In the hospital, when I opened my eyes, I saw myself again hesitating for a fraction of a second before the flat sea. Maybe that was why, later, I convinced myself that it wasn't a dream but a fantasy of alarm that lasted until I woke up in the hospital room. The doctors told me that my car had ended up against a guardrail but without critical consequences. The only serious injury was in my left side, an inexplicable lesion. 
My friends from Florence came, Bianca and Marta returned, and even Gianni. I said it was drowsiness that had sent me off the road. But I knew very well that drowsiness wasn't to blame. At the origin was a gesture of mine that made no sense, and which, precisely because it was senseless, I immediately decided not to speak of to anyone. The hardest things to talk about are the ones we ourselves can't understand.
The Lost Daughter
by Elena Ferrante

Since the final installment of Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Novels will not be available until September, I decided to dive into her backlist while I wait. This is the entire first chapter from her 2006 novel, The Lost Daughter.  I posted the whole thing because I thought the final sentences were quite powerful. Here is the goodreads summary:
The Lost Daughter is Elena Ferrante's most compelling and perceptive meditation on womanhood and motherhood yet. Leda, a middle-aged divorce, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence. Ferrante's language is as finely tuned and intense as ever, and she treats her theme with a fierce, candid tenacity. 
What do you think? Would you keep reading?


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.

46 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I really liked this one and well, everything this author has written:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane - I'm certain I first heard about this book from you :)

      Delete
  2. I want to know what the senseless thing she won't speak of is!
    Today I am featuring When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yes, I would definitely keep reading. Others ahead of it in line, but it's on my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JudyMac - It's great to discover new authors ... have gotten into Ferrante in a big way this year.

      Delete
  4. I'd keep reading definitely! I haven't read any of Ferrante's books yet but you have placed them firmly on my TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katherine - I really like her writing style... hope you will, too!

      Delete
  5. I'd like to know more, so I would keep on reading. And what a 'cheeky' cover!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret - LOL! Couldn't agree more ;-)

      Delete
  6. Wow - you're on a Ferrante kick! I've never read her, but I really loved this intro! I'll be interested to hear your thoughts once you've finished. Might be adding yet another author to my TBR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah - The last time I read this much by one author was when I discovered Stewart O'Nan a few years ago and read 3 or 4 of his books.

      Delete
  7. Wow! What an intriguing intro, and so many images seemed to grab me, as my thoughts carried me back to my own childhood and the "warnings" that seemed to define my reactions to events.

    I have not yet read this author, but I love the sound of this one. Thanks!

    Here's mine: “THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTER”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - She is an amazing writer!

      Delete
  8. That first chapter is very powerful. I'd want to know what came next. And I love that Margaret mentioned the 'cheeky' cover. LOL LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay - Margaret made me laugh out loud with that comment, too!

      Delete
  9. I love the writing style, and it looks like the kind of book I'd really enjoy, so I'd keep reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monica - I really love her writing, too! Hope to finish the book within the next few days.

      Delete
  10. That opening certainly drew me in and made me want to keep reading. I'd like to know more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margot - I think Ferrante has a way of drawing the reader in right away. I really like her style!

      Delete
  11. I'm adding this one to my list--and will be looking at the others on her back list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine - I have a feeling I'll want to read the rest of her back list!

      Delete
  12. I would keep reading. This has sparked my interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emma - She hooked me right away with those few paragraphs, too.

      Delete
  13. I'd keep reading and have added this to my list. I love that cover! My mom was a doll collector and it reminds me of her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki - Europa Editions always have great covers! I'm glad I have this one in print.

      Delete
  14. This is incredibly intense but in a good way - I'd like to know more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cleo - You're exactly right. All of her books have been very intense, but in the best possible sense.

      Delete
  15. Oh, definitely keep reading. It makes me want to buy it right now, and that cover is all kinds of scary to me. Of course, dolls and clowns are two of my phobias.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - I know you're no alone in those phobias...especially clowns! I'm loving this book so far.

      Delete
  16. Love that chapter and yes, I would like to go and grab that book. Hopefully my library has it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athira - It's a short, powerful read!

      Delete
  17. Absolutely! I would keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nise' - I really like her writing style.

      Delete
  18. The character study seems very interesting and the writing is very good so I would definitely keep reading that book.

    It seems that you have really discovered a new favorite Author JoAnn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian Joseph - This seems to be my year for discovering new favorite authors. Between Trollope and Ferrante, I'm a happy reader :)

      Delete
  19. I am not sure...this is a new author for me! I need to investigate her work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patty - She is very intense, but in a good way :)

      Delete
  20. I would likely read on. As a side note: I really HATE the cover

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth F - That cover does seem to evoke strong reactions, lol! It sure got my attention though.

      Delete
  21. The opening is quite frightening, isn't it? I wanted to scream at her, "Don't fall asleep!" I like the writing style quite a bit and would definitely keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Literary Feline - I finished yesterday... very introspective and intense.

      Delete
  22. This sounds so much better than the book I am reading right now (In the Shadows of Paris". Yes the first chapter would have pulled me in, I am away for a couple of weeks helping my daughter. I may need to head to the bookstore....but the. I would 't be of much use here, would I? Have a wonderful week. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie - So nice that you are able to spend time with and help your daughter... reading can wait!

      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!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails