“When you are a latecomer, outsider, immigrant, exile, there are fractures in your life that you can’t heal… I have a lot of respect for people that have stayed behind and have to deal with the wounds every day.” Elif Shafak
Posts tagged "Elena Ferrante"
Staying in, not slowing down

Staying in, not slowing down

On the release of Both of You, her twenty-first novel in as many years, the author of the Number 1 bestselling Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck reflects on keeping going during lockdown, some of her literary influences and heroes, and the routine and discipline that always underpin the creative process. Where are you now? Right...
All the love in the world

All the love in the world

“It is nice when two people come together in the universe,” Huma Qureshi remembers telling her young son in the opening pages of How We Met. He promptly asks how she and his dad Richard came to be together, and so begins Huma’s story of her quest for married love. It’s a short book –...
Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Distant echoes of a mighty paean

Readers long spellbound by Elena Ferrante’s Valhalla-like worlds of the Italian South, her redoubtable skills as a writer, the swarming opacity of the mystery that enshrouds her, her ‘voice’, defying every categorisation, or even personification, will instantly pick up the familiar echoes and sounds of her previous books as they leaf through the pages of...
Write what you want to forget

Write what you want to forget

What do you do with the things that cannot be expressed? Where do you put the things you cannot say? What do you do when words don’t work? In the opening pages of The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson cites Wittgenstein: “the inexpressible is contained – inexpressibly – in the expressed.” This is, she says, why she...
With love and squalor

With love and squalor

Anna Maria Ortese’s Evening Descends Upon the Hills is a book that, Atlas-like, seems to bear on its shoulders the weight of the most overwhelming human sorrow – but also the burden of humanity’s “small, wretched acts of violence, an abyss of voices and events, tiny terrible gestures”, the unspeakable social stains and realities to...
Where unhappiness ends: Naples beyond Ferrante

Where unhappiness ends: Naples beyond Ferrante

You know you are in Naples when the taxi taking you to the city centre from the tiny local airport seems to be driven by a perfectly amiable madman, dead set on breaking your neck (and his) as he hurtle-bumps his vehicle down the almost vertical, serpentine ribbons that are many of the city streets....
A total portrait of the artist as an absence

A total portrait of the artist as an absence

Elena Ferrante is traditional in the most radical, boundary-dissolving ways; conventional with subversive fervour and delicately powerful talent. In Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey she proves above all the invincible strength of her authorial translucence, the rock-solid presence of her so-called anonymity, which she invariably corrects as being a determined gesture of absence. The word frantumaglia,...
Erasures

Erasures

Ann Goldstein, the English translator of Elena Ferrante, said in a panel discussion hosted by Rosie Goldsmith at Waterstones Piccadilly this month that she felt “bereft when the last translation was finished.” “The characters,” she felt, “become people we live with.” The same sense of bereavement, of loss of a vital friend or voice, is...
The bazaar and the monastery

The bazaar and the monastery

The Spring 2015 issue of The Paris Review has a scoop to rival a sit-down with Pynchon: The first in-person interview with Elena Ferrante, in which the notoriously reclusive author explains her anonymity: “This demand for self-promotion diminishes the actual work of art,” she says. “The media simply can’t discuss a work of literature without...
Fiction 2014–2015

Fiction 2014–2015

It’s that time of year again, so here’s my list of the best reads from the past twelve months, and some recommendations for a few titles to look out for in the new year. Starting with novels, and a title I would pick as my favourite of the year if pushed – Akhil Sharma’s Family...