The Days of Abandonment

The Days of Abandonment 1

by Elena Ferrante

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 09/06/2015

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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Rarely have the foundations upon which our ideas of motherhood and womanhood rest been so candidly questioned.

This compelling novel tells the story of one woman's headlong descent into what she calls an 'absence of sense' after being abandoned by her husband. Olga's 'days of abandonment' become a desperate, dangerous freefall into the darkest places of the soul as she roams the empty streets of a city that she has never learned to love.

When she finds herself trapped inside the four walls of her apartment in the middle of a summer heat wave, Olga is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal again.

ISBN:
9781925240122
9781925240122
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
09-06-2015
Language:
English
Publisher:
Text Publishing
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
192
Dimensions (mm):
197x128x15mm
Weight:
0.18kg
Elena Ferrante

Listed in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, 2016 Elena Ferrante was born in Naples.

She is the author of seven novels: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and the quartet of Neapolitan Novels: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. She is one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A powerful read

    by on

    The Days of Abandonment is the second novel by Italian author, Elena Ferrante. When Mario announces after dinner that he intends to leave Olga after fifteen years of marriage, she at first believes this is another “absence of sense”, as Mario referred to his infatuation with fifteen-year-old Carla, five years earlier. She tries to discuss things calmly, as they have always done: “I hated raised voices, movements that were too brusque. My own family was full of noisy emotions, always on display, and I felt that I was inside a clamorous life and that everything might come apart because of a too piercing sentence, an ungentle movement of the body”.

    Olga had given up her own ambition to become a writer (“I was young, I had pretensions. I didn’t like the impenetrable page, like a lowered blind. I liked light, air between the slats. I wanted to write stories full of breezes, of filtered rays where dust motes danced… I loved writers who made you look through every line, to gaze downward and feel the vertigo of the depths, the blackness of inferno”) to support Mario and care for their children. Now, suddenly alone, abandoned with just her two young children, Olga spirals through anger into deep despair.

    She alienates friends: “…so even the very few people who still tried to help me withdrew in the end: it was difficult to put up with me. I found myself alone and frightened by my own desperation”; she questions who and what she is: “…perhaps I would understand better why he had gone and why I, who had always set against the occasional emotional confusion the stable order of our affections, now felt so violently the bitterness of loss, an intolerable grief, the anxiety of falling out of the web of certainty and having to relearn life without the security of knowing how to do it”

    Olga reaches a crisis point, descending into a dangerous mental and physical state: “I had only to quiet the view inside, the thoughts. They got mixed up, they crowded in on one another, shreds of words and images, buzzing frantically, like a swarm of wasps…”, she behaves in a completely uncharacteristic manner, before she eventually gains a new sense of herself: “Perhaps I remained beautiful even if my husband had rolled up the sense of my beauty into a ball and thrown it into the wastepaper basket, like wrapping paper”.

    Ferrante certainly knows how to convey the myriad of emotions, the stages of loss that accompany a marital breakdown. Readers should be prepared for the explicit language that reflects the depth of Olga’s anger. This dark tale, filled with marvellous descriptive prose, has a hopeful ending. A powerful read.
    4.5 stars

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