“Nothing quite like this has ever been published before,” proclaimed The Guardian newspaper about the Neapolitan Novels in 2014. The first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was a New York Times bestseller. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay was a Times bestseller and Notable Book of the Year, and was named a best book of 2014 twenty-five times including in The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New Statesman, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and the Boston Globe.
This fourth and final installment in the series gives validation to the New York Times Book Review’s opinion of its author, Elena Ferrante, as “one of the great novelists of our time.” Here is the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; 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 books. 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 with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Proximity to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, unforgettable! Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, 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 readers will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.
Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. Her Neapolitan Novels include My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and the fourth and final book in the series, The Story of the Lost Child. Ferrante’s op-ed piece in the New York Times.