Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Europa Editions. Sept. 2014. 416p. (Neapolitan Novels). tr. from Italian by Ann Goldstein. ISBN 9781609452339. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781609452230. F
OrangeReviewStarRising far above the melodrama of a typical coming-of-age story, this third in Ferrante's four "Neapolitan Novels" (begun with My Brilliant Friend) exhibits keen intellectual curiosity and heartfelt passion as it continues to explore the lives of childhood friends Lina and Elena. It is now the late 1960s, and class struggle, poverty, extremist politics, and feminist ideas reverberate in the minds and souls of our protagonists, as revealed by narrator Elena, who has left the neighborhood to attend college and eventually publish a novel. Lena, meanwhile, married young and has left her husband, allowing for a rigorous exploration of love, marriage, separation, and the role of children.
VERDICT Superbly translated, this tour de force shows off Ferrante's strong storytelling ability and will leave readers eager for the final volume of the series. An excellent choice for book clubs.
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