As more as I dig in this tetralogy, the more I love the anonymous author, Elena Ferrante, for her brilliant work. The third volume called “Those who leave and those who stay” was my favorite. The characters become more mature, the Italian society starts to change and the intrigue is more thrilling.
Elena and Lila “come of age”
While in the previous books, Elena and Lila were children or teenagers, facing the problems of the early ages, things now are getting mature.
Elena gets married to her boyfriend from university, who is now a professor. Even though they came from very different social environments, their intelligence, and appetite for studying brought them together. But only until marriage and having kids, because now the conflicts about feelings and lifestyle get overwhelming for Lena.
Lila has moved back in the old neighborhood. The contact between the two women is not as constant as it used to be. The relationship is still based on love and hate and, sometimes, it seems they cause each other just pain.
Meanwhile, Italian society goes through changes. Lots of violence appear, even in Florence, where Elena is now living with her family.
And guess who’s back?
Elena Ferrante has this unique writing style, with beautiful descriptions on moods and atmospheres and also with lots of surprises about her characters. The author respects her readers and treats them like intellectuals. This is why I am sure she made it on purpose the come back of Nino. Yes, Nino is back, but now in the life of Elena. And the ending of this book has to do with this fact. No spoilers, no spoilers.
All in all, I loved the third book of the Neapolitan tetralogy and the fourth novel is just waiting for me.