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Translated by Ann Goldstein
Elena Ferrante is one of the greatest novelists of our time. Read her novels and don’t worry about who she is: you will be entranced by her writing.
Frantumaglia is a riveting compilation, over the course of her writing career, of Elena Ferrante’s letters to her publisher, interviews with editors and journalists, and responses to readers’ questions. For fans of Ferrante, and for fans of writing, this is essential reading. Her comments have the ring of truth and the power of wisdom. This is a woman who not only knows her own mind, she can see deep into ours, too.
‘Readers hungry for every Ferrante sentence they can get will find many here in which she lowers her knife through the bread of life with the same startling force as she does in her novels.’
‘In her own exceedingly quotable words, drawing on myth, theory, philosophy, and, of course, literature, the author reveals herself in her multitudes: she is kind and good-humored, self-deprecating and apologetic, flinty and unwavering…While this collection will be most enticing to those already reading Ferrante, it’s also a feast for writers, lovers of literature, and creators of all kinds.’
‘The collection promises insightful observations from Ferrante on subjects such as feminism and politics, her literary aspirations, her decision to be published anonymously, and the role of the writer and publisher in today’s world’
‘The material collected here further reveals Ferrante as a remarkable writer and deeply original thinker across a range of subjects but particularly on writing, the importance of fiction, feminism and motherhood. One hopes that the recent ‘unmasking’ of her identity will not eclipse the importance of this book; certainly, true fans will not be disappointed. She addresses her reasons for privacy within these pages intelligently and convincingly and cautions ‘I remain Ferrante or I no longer publish’. This extraordinary collection of frantumaglia gives us far greater insight into her novels than any speculation about her ‘real’ identity.’
‘This is a fascinating volume, as ever beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein. At times, it is as absorbing as Ferrante’s extraordinary fictions and touches on troubling unconscious matter with the same visceral intensity. For those who can’t wait for the next Ferrante fiction to sink into, it provides a stopgap.’
‘The book exquisitely translated by Ann Goldstein of the New Yorker opens a window on to the life of one of the most mysterious writers at work in Italy today.’
‘In Frantumaglia Ferrante asserts the most fundamental and important truth of who she is: that she is someone who will do only as she will and nothing else. That is what is at stake for all women. And the stakes as Ferrante knows have never been higher.’
‘Over the decades of interviews in Frantumaglia a portrait emerges if not of the artist herself then of Elena Ferrante’s writing process and aim: to give order to the frantumaglia however provisionaland arrive at a literary truth through story.’
‘For admirers of Ferrante’s work who are not particularly interested in a biographical reading of her fiction, Frantumaglia offers something else: a chance to consider her strange, spectral presence in the world of letters.’
‘What gives these novels their prominent place on the literary map at this moment is the intensity of Elena Ferrante’s writing: in and of itself a force of nature. With or without permission, the writing sucks the reader into its orbit, and there one remains to the end. It’s a remarkable performance, one that speaks directly to a moment in Western culture avid for naked, memoirish storytelling, and it has made her world-famous…Whoever she is, when she sits down to write she wholly inhabits the narrating persona she has chosen for the tale that she has come to tell.’
‘Frantumaglia is never less than compelling and we read with a similar desire to recognise a pattern…The letters are presented without introduction, and as we read we’re curious to know how they fit into the larger picture.’
‘Ferociously meticulous, exacting, and direct…It is precisely [Ferrante’s] capacity for cruelty, for helping us locate the violence inert in everyday life (particularly within the bourgeois social strata) that qualifies Ferrante for her readers’ devotion. Through her violence we, her readers, become vital and vigilant creatures.’
‘That this is a must have for fans of Ferrante goes without saying, but it will also be of interest to those with a curiosity about the art and act of writing. The collection reveals Ferrante’s thoughts on a multitude of topics from feminism, the importance of fiction, and motherhood. Allowing a glimpse into the mind of one of Italy’s most acclaimed writers in the process.’
‘Rendering real women, with their fraught relationships and anger, joy, anxieties, disappointment and sadness, has always been where Ferrante is at her most authentic; where she is her most truthful. But in Frantumaglia, her first work of non-fiction, the reader finds one of Ferrante’s most convincing works of fiction: Elena Ferrante.’
‘Cumulatively these fragments offer fascinating insights into Ferrante’s working methods and artistic purpose.’
‘We guarantee all the cool girls will be clutching Frantumaglia.’
‘An absorbing explanation of why this writer insists on anonymity, and also reveals a lot about the inspiration for and thinking behind her remarkable novels.’
‘A fascinating companion piece, both to the remarkable novels Ferrante has written and to the ongoing discussion about the author’s real identity…Her fans should be grateful for this highly readable, insightful resource.’
‘Ferrante writes well about writing, publishing and literature, and I recommend Frantumaglia to writers and those interested in her books…It was an unexpectedly helpful companion through the grief and fear of one hell of a month. Thank you, Elena, whoever you are.’