The third book in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, has been attracting incredible reviews.
The New York Times review of Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay opens with 'Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time', concluding, 'in these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now—one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.'
'Nothing you read about Elena Ferrante’s work prepares you for the ferocity of it,' says Amy Rowland, also writing in the New York Times. 'And with each new novel in her revelatory Neapolitan series, she unprepares you all over again.'
'Ferrante writes with the kind of power saved for weather systems with female names, sparing no one,' says the LA Times. 'Those Who Stay is a tour de force. I don't want to read anything else.'
The New Yorker focuses on the friendship between Elena and Lila that is the driving force of the series: 'When the friends talk, Elena writes, their conversations “ignited my brain...we tore the words from each other’s mouth, creating an excitement that seemed like a storm of electrical charges.” This is the sensation that I recognized in reading Ferrante: a hungry, relentless urge to keep going, the same feeling that drives you to borrow all someone’s clothes, or pinch them as hard as you can when they don’t understand you. Ferrante shows us the friction that generates human heat—she reminds us what the experience of liking is like.'
'This volume in particular is engrossing both in its richly detailed story and also in its greater concern with larger narrative issues,' says the LA Review of Books. 'The powerful intertwining of writing a life and living a life has a central role throughout.'
'Reading Ferrante is an extraordinary experience,' says the Boston Globe. 'There’s a powerful and unsettling candor in her writing...the inner lives of Ferrante’s two female protagonists are as urgently real as the very different external worlds through which they move.'
'Ferrante reveals herself in these novels as a masterful writer,' says the Quarterly Conversation. 'Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay is as stunning an installment as its predecessors...Reading these novels, one becomes so immersed in the world of the characters that even an offhand comment from a minor acquaintance can (and often does) carry the force of revelation—the books are nearly impossible to put down.'
'Perhaps because of the freedom afforded by anonymity, Ferrante’s work feels intensely personal—written, as the reclusive author believes all fiction should be, “as if your innermost self had been ransacked”,' says Slate. 'In Ann Goldstein’s English translations, Ferrante’s sentences have an incantatory power, as well as profound psychological and cultural insights.'
The Independent admires Ferrante, 'an expert above all at the rhythm of plotting...Whether it's work, family friends or sex—and Ferrante, perhaps thank to her anonymity as an author, is blisteringly good on bad sex—our greatest mistakes in life aren't isolated acts; we rehearse them over and over until we get them as badly wrong as we can.'
'Ferrante is one of the finest novelists working today,' says the National Post. 'It is difficult to find a more beautiful evocation of a lifelong friendship than the one found in the pages of Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.'
'Ferrante's singularity is to make a glory of introspection and turn it into theatre,' says the Sunday Telegraph. 'There's a dark ardour present in her writing, and a thrilling physicality to her metaphors...Her charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high-stakes, subversive literature.'
Music & Literature says of Ferrante's novels, 'They capture not only the intimate musings of a narrator who grows up before our eyes but a panorama of postwar Italy, intricately peopled with a vital supporting cast, including the indelible Lila...While each of her novels is uniquely beguiling, they interrogate a shared set of concerns and obsessions, with bracing narrative frankness. The cumulative effect of her oeuvre is that of reading the distillation of someone’s deepest, most furtive thoughts.'
'For me the passion to write never coincided with the desire to become a writer. The passion was by its nature private.' Elena Ferrante gives a rare interview in Vogue.
Open Letters Monthly considers the critical reception of Elena Ferrante's work.
Three writers celebrate the elusive Ferrante in T Magazine.