All of the Books!
Who is Elena Ferrante?
Elena Ferrante is the well-known pseudonym of an Italian writer born in Naples. She chose to keep her identity secret, and by extension, we know almost nothing about her. Except that she is a bestseller author.
Her Neapolitan Series has sold over 10 million copies in 40 countries and Time magazine called Ferrante one of the 100 most influential people in 2016.
Elena Ferrante Books in Order:
The Neapolitan Series
- My Brilliant Friend — The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.
- The Story of a New Name — Lila has recently married and made her entrée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and a source of strength in the face of life’s challenges.
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay — Elena and Lila have grown into womanhood. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance, and submission.
- The Story of the Lost Child — Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. But now, she has returned to Naples to be with the man she has always loved. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from Naples. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Yet, somehow, this proximity to a world she has always rejected only brings her role as unacknowledged leader of that world into relief.
- The Days of Abandonment — Olga is suddenly left by her husband after fifteen years of marriage. With two young children to care for, she finds it more and more difficult to do the things she used to: keep a spotless house, cook meals with creativity and passion, refrain from using obscenities. She is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.
- Troubling Love — Following her mother’s untimely and unexplained drowning, which was preceded by a series of strange phone calls, forty-five-year-old Delia leaves Rome and embarks on a voyage of discovery through the beguiling yet often hostile streets of her native Naples. She is searching for the truth about her family and the men in her mother’s life, past and present, including an abusive husband. What she discovers will be more unsettling than she imagines, but will also reveal truths about herself.
- The Lost Daughter — Leda, a middle-aged divorcée, is alone for the first time in years after her two adult daughters leave home to live with their father in Toronto. Enjoying an unexpected sense of liberty, she heads to the Ionian coast for a vacation. But she soon finds herself intrigued by Nina, a young mother on the beach, eventually striking up a conversation with her. After Nina confides a dark secret, one seemingly trivial occurrence leads to events that could destroy Nina’s family.
- The Lying Life of Adults — Fourteen-year-old Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which wears a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity, where her guide is the unforgettable Aunt Vittoria.
- The Beach at Night — A retelling of The Lost Daughter from the doll’s perspective. Celina is having a terrible night, one full of jealousy for the new kitten, Minù; feelings of abandonment and sadness; misadventures at the hands of the beach attendant; and dark dreams. But she will be happily found by Mati, her child, once the sun rises…
- Frantumaglia — Consisting of over twenty years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, in these pages, Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough. The result is a vibrant and intimate
- Incidental Inventions — For a full year, Ferrante wrote weekly articles, the subjects of which had been suggested by Guardian editors, making the writing process a sort of prolonged interlocution. The subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the experience of seeing her novels adapted for film and TV. The Fifty-one columns are collected here.