The Story of a New Name is an extraordinary novel about two young women, Lila and Elena, growing up in Naples in the early 1960s.
At sixteen Lila marries the shopkeeper Stefano. She is filled with pleasure at her new wealth, and horror at the life she has chosen.
Elena's own attempts at romance seem to be sabotaged by Lila's turbulent affairs. As she tries to plot her way out of poverty via academic and literary success, her constant anxiety is that she is just a shadow of the brilliant Lila.
The sequel to My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name continues the enthralling chronicle of a friendship that is obsessive, loving, complicated, hurtful, enduring and constantly startling. It is an exhilarating reading experience.
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 Elena Ferrante's earlier novels. She is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award.
'Elena Ferrante will blow you away.' Alice Sebold
'Everyone should read anything with [Elena Ferrante's] name on it.' Boston Globe
'Ferrante's writing has no limits, is willing to take every thought forward to its most radical conclusion and backward to its most radical birthing.' James Wood, New Yorker
‘Ferrante transforms the love, separation and reunion of two poor urban girls into the general tragedy of their city, a place so beautiful and heartbreaking that it inspired the expression “Vedi Napoli e poi muori"—"See Naples and then die”.’ New York Times Book Review
‘Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you have never heard of…Ferrante’s voice is startlingly honest…her storytelling both visceral and compelling.’ Economist
‘The writing and translation from Italian are first-class.’ Otago Daily Times
‘The first two Neapolitan novels [My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name]…move far from contrivance, logic or respectability to ask uncomfortable questions about how we live, how we love, how we singe an existence in a deeply flawed world that expects pretty acquiescence from its women. In all their beauty, their ugliness, their devotion and deceit, these girls enchant and repulse, like life, like our very selves.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘Ferrante writes so beautifully that you can’t help but become engrossed with the lives, loves and loss of Lila and Elena…will leave readers salivating for the third instalment.’ Courier Mail
‘[Elena Ferrante’s] brilliance isn’t limited to her mechanics, her finesse or her creativity as a writer, but it’s her willingness to continually address the psychological machinations of women who have very unfeminine feelings.’ Three Percent
The second in a trilogy, book two rejoins narrator Elena Greco and her "brilliant friend" Lina Cerullo as they leave behind their claustrophobic Italian girlhood and enter the tumultuous world of young womanhood with all its accompanying love, loss, and confusion. Against the backdrop of l960s/70s Naples, the previously inseparable girls embark on diverse paths. At 16, Lila has married the prosperous local grocer, Stefano Carraci, only to discover at their wedding reception that he has already betrayed her and damned their union. Conversely Elena has chosen education, a less traditional route to free her from the stultifying village life. Lina asks Elena to hide a box of notebooks from her husband. Instead, she dumps them in the river but not without first reading them. Ferrante masterfully combines Elena's recollections of events with Lila's point of view as documented in her notebooks to drive the narrative. The women's fraught relationship and shifting fortunes are the life forces of this poignant book.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Real good except the dirty bits
The book was real good but the dirty bits are too short. I want to know more about what she did on the beach and with those boyfriends. Also how come Lila isn't sleeping with Enzo or Stefano who look after her but with Nino who is a smartarse
Couldn't put it down.
Powerful writing. Evocative.