Remember when I was telling you about the first book of Elena Ferrante’s tetralogy? Well, it was the time for reading the second novel of this collection, as the first volume stole my heart. And here are some little thoughts about it.
The unforgettable friendship between Lila and Elena
In the first volume of the Neapolitan tetralogy, Lila and Elena were two little girls, now the protagonists live their mature ages. Again, their relationship is between love and hate, as they are in a continuous intellectual competition. Their contradictory and yet brilliant relationship changes as Lila marries the wealthy Stefano and abandons her passion for learning. As such, The Story of a New Name is about Lila and losing her old self by adopting the husband’s name.
Once the girls become two beautiful women, the competition between them is not only about books and intellectual spirit but also for men.
“For your whole life you love people and you never really know who they are.” (Nunzia to Lenù, p.215)
Behind her pseudonym of Ferrante, the author takes you to the old stories of Naples
Lila and Elena couldn’t be so intriguing, so mysterious if the author wouldn’t describe with so much talent the rough and violent life of 1960s Naples. The Italian spirit is nicely blended with the deepest secrets of the two women.
More than their sometimes toxic and challenging friendship, the book is quite brilliant for the author’s way of putting words together. Secrets are nicely uncovered, in a simple but yet psychedelic language. The novel gives you a special mood indeed. It speaks about the domestic violence in the old Naples, love, la dolce vita of Italy, the poverty or the upstarts of poor people, all together in the same masterpiece.
Now I am looking forward to reading the next two books and really hope they will be as intimate and personal as the previous ones.