Incidental Inventions

Europa. 2019. 114p. ISBN 9781609455583. $20. LIT
In 2017, the Guardian commissioned a weekly column from Ferrante, who agreed to the project on the condition that its subjects were provided by the publication’s editors. The resulting “incidental inventions,” expertly translated by longtime Ferrante collaborator Goldstein, ran from January 2018 to January 2019, offering a glimpse into the famously elusive author’s creative intentions (“I’m interested in digging into the ordinary and causing confusion, pushing myself to go beyond appearances”), most intimate memories (“What I distinctly remember about my first love is my state of confusion”), and deepest convictions (“inequality generates an extraordinary waste of minds and creative energies, which, if trained and put to use, would likely make our history an active laboratory for repairing the damage we’ve caused so far”). Accompanying Hopper-esque illustrations from Ucini match the mood of each piece perfectly.
VERDICT In prose that provokes and transforms, evoking wonder and tension in the most gratifying sense, these fragments of Ferrante ultimately cohere into a full, absorbing portrait of an enduring author.
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