“Nothing quite like this has ever been published before,” proclaimed the Guardian about the Neapolitan Novels in 2014. The first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was a New York Times bestseller. Book three was a Times bestseller and a Notable Book of the Year. It was named a best book of 2014 twenty-five times, including in the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, the Daily Beast, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and the Boston Globe. This final installment in the series gives validation to the New York Times Book Review’s opinion of its author, Elena Ferrante, as “one of the great novelists of our time.”
Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; many of life’s great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received novels. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Nearness to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, and unforgettable.
Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long, remarkable story that listeners will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.