Following her mother's untimely and mysterious death, Delia embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. Reality is buried somewhere in the fertile soil of memory, and Delia is determined to find it.
This stylish fiction is set in a beguiling but often hostile Naples, whose chaotic, suffocating streets become one of the book's central motifs. A story about mothers and daughters, and the complicated knot of lies and emotions that binds them.
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. Fragments, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in early 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 Award.
'Ferrante's polished language belies the rawness of her imagery, which conveys perversity, violence, and bodily functions in ripe detail.' New Yorker
'It's the first time a novel ever made me get physical, and it was the first good mood I'd been in for weeks.' New York Times
'Like Joyce's Ulysses, this journey draws vigorously on its cityscape. Naples is one of those sun-drenched spooky cities, thrumming with life and populated by ghosts, spastic with impermeable local culture.' Time Out New York
'A brutally frank tale about the dangerous intersection of rage and desire.' Booklist
'Both The Days of Abandonment and Troubling Love are tour de forces, and harrowing tours of a feminine psyche under siege. They both confirm Ferrante's reputation as one of Italy's best contemporary novelists.' Seattle Times
The pseudonymous Italian author of Days of Abandonment returns with a daughter's attempt to unlock the mystery of her mother's death by drowning following years of domestic abuse. Days before her body washed ashore near her hometown of Naples, Amalia called her oldest daughter, Delia, now 45, with shocking news that she was with a man not her estranged husband, a two-bit painter then hung up, laughing. After the funeral (Amalia's husband doesn't show), Delia goes in search of the story behind the expensive new brassiere Amalia was found wearing at her death, incongruous for a poor seamstress who deliberately downplayed her good looks to avoid arousing her husband's savage jealousy. Caserta, a man who acted as Delia's father's agent as well as rival for Amalia's attention, plays a role here and in Delia's past. In tactile, beautifully restrained prose, Ferrante makes the domestic violence that tore the household apart evident, including the child Delia's attempts to guard her mother from the beatings of her father. By the time of the denouement, Ferrante has forcefully delineated how the complicity in violence against women perpetuates a brutal cycle of repetition and silence.