The Story of the Lost Child is the long-awaited fourth volume in the Neapolitan novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay). The quartet traces the friendship between Elena and Lila, from their childhood in a poor neighbourhood in Naples, to their thirties, when both women are mothers but each has chosen a different path. Their lives are still inextricably linked, for better or worse, especially when it comes to the drama of a lost child.
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. Frantugmalia, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in 2016. She is one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.
Ann Goldstein has translated all of Elena Ferrante’s work. She is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Prize.
Praise for Ferrante and the Neapolitan novels
‘[Ferrante’s] charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high stakes, subversive literature.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Ferrante is an expert above all at the rhythm of plotting...Whether it’s work, family, friends or sex–and Ferrante, perhaps thanks to her anonymity as an author, is blisteringly good on bad sex–our greatest mistakes in life aren’t isolated acts; we rehearse them over and over until we get them as badly wrong as we can.’ Independent
‘Great novels are intelligent far beyond the powers of any character or writer or individual reader, as are great friendships, in their way. These wonderful books sit at the heart of that mystery, with the warmth and power of both.’ Harper’s
‘Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time. Her voice is passionate, her view sweeping and her gaze basilisk...In these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now—one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.’ New York Times Sunday Book Review
‘When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles—my job, or acquaintances on the subway—that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one—how?). I am propelled by a ravenous will to keep going.’ New Yorker
‘The best thing I’ve read this year, far and away…She puts most other writing at the moment in the shade. She’s marvellous.’ Richard Flanagan
‘The Neapolitan series stands as a testament to the ability of great literature to challenge, flummox, enrage and excite as it entertains.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘The depth of perception Ms. Ferrante shows about her character’s conflicts and psychological states is astonishing...Her novels ring so true and are written with such empathy that they sound confessional.’ Wall Street Journal
‘The older you get, the harder it is to recapture the intoxicating sense of discovery that comes when you first read George Eliot, Nabokov, Tolstoy or Colette. But this year it came again when I read Elena Ferrante’s remarkable Neapolitan novels.’ Jane Shilling, New Statesman
‘There is nothing remotely tiring or trying about the experience of reading the Neapolitan novels, which I, and a great many others, now rank among our greatest book-related pleasures…it is writing that holds honesty dear.’ Weekend Australian
‘Dickens gave working people a voice. Ferrante, whoever she might be, presents a new paradigm for being female in the world...Ferrante’s great literary creations, Lenu and Lila, have the same emotional weight as Anne in Persuasion, Jo in Little Women, Maggie in The Mill on the Floss, Jane in Jane Eyre.’ Helen Elliott in the Monthly
‘This stunning conclusion further solidifies the Neapolitan novels as Ferrante’s masterpiece and guarantees that this reclusive author will remain far from obscure for years to come.’ Publishers Weekly
‘The Neapolitan novels are smart, thoughtful, serious literature. At the same time, they are violent, suspenseful soap operas populated with a vivid cast of scheming characters...Ferrante’s novels are deeply personal and intimate, getting to the very heart of what it means to be a woman, a friend, a daughter, a mother.’ Debrief Daily
‘Shattering and enthralling, intimate and vicious…The Neapolitan Novels are the kind of books that swallow me whole. As soon as I pick one up, I don’t want to breathe or move lest I break the spell…The Neapolitan Novels are among the most important in my reading life. I can’t recommend them highly enough.’ Readings
‘Ferrante captures the complexities of women, friendship and motherhood in ways that make your heart soar and ache in equal measures. If you haven’t already, treat yourself to this series.’ ELLE Australia
‘[Ferrante’s] Neapolitan novels contain real life – recognisable anxiety, joy, love and heartbreak. This is an incredibly difficult feat to achieve in the first place, let alone sustain, over four books. We will be talking about Elena and Lila for years to come.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘There's a bright, sinewy humanness to Ferrante’s writing that is so alive it's alarming…The Story of the Lost Child is a full emotional experience, and a fitting end to a huge, arresting series.’ New Zealand Listener
‘I was one of the many who wept and wondered over Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child. I plan to re-read the entire series soon.’ Favourite Feminist Reads from 2016, Feminist Writers Festival