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Translated by Ann Goldstein
Leda is a middle-aged, divorced mother devoted to her work as an English professor. After the departure of her grown-up daughters, she takes a holiday on the Italian coast. But after a few days things become unsettling; on the beach she encounters a family whose brash behaviour proves menacing.
Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult and unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family. The tale of a woman’s rediscovery of herself soon becomes the story of a ferocious confrontation with the past.
The Lost Daughter is a profound exploration of the conflicting emotions that tie women to their children.
Read a review of three of Ferrante’s novels—Troubling Love, The Days of Abandonment and The Lost Daughter—in the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Ferrante’s gift for psychological horror renders it immediate and visceral.’
‘This superb and scary Italian writer…has blown the lid off tempestuous parent-child relations.’
‘So refined, almost translucent, that it seems about to float away, in the end this piercing novel is not so easily dislodged from the memory.’
‘It’s Leda’s voice that’s hypnotic, and it’s the writing that makes it that way. Ferrante can do a woman’s interior dialogue like no one else, with a ferocity that is shockingly honest, unnervingly blunt.’
‘Ferrante’s prose is stunningly candid, direct and unforgettable. From simple elements, she builds a powerful tale of hope and regret.’
‘[The Lost Daughter] seems to me close to perfection…Marvellous stuff this: Ferrante knows her (or maybe his) Freud through and through and works wonders with it.’
‘With cold determination, Ferrante conveys both the selfishness and the courage that comes with admitting your own maternal shortcomings.’
‘I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in fiction a woman’s sensibility quite like the one Ferrante creates…There is nothing sentimental in this or any of Elena Ferrante’s novels, nothing glib or comforting. Except, of course, the comfort that’s always given by great novels, no matter how brutal—and that’s the comfort of recognition.‘