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Translated by Ann Goldstein
Following her mother’s untimely and mysterious death, Delia embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. Reality is buried somewhere in the fertile soil of memory, and Delia is determined to find it.
This stylish fiction is set in a beguiling but often hostile Naples, whose chaotic, suffocating streets become one of the book’s central motifs. A story about mothers and daughters, and the complicated knot of lies and emotions that binds them.
‘Ferrante’s polished language belies the rawness of her imagery, which conveys perversity, violence, and bodily functions in ripe detail.’
‘It’s the first time a novel ever made me get physical, and it was the first good mood I’d been in for weeks.’
‘Like Joyce’s Ulysses, this journey draws vigorously on its cityscape. Naples is one of those sun-drenched spooky cities, thrumming with life and populated by ghosts, spastic with impermeable local culture.’
‘A brutally frank tale about the dangerous intersection of rage and desire.’
‘Both The Days of Abandonment and Troubling Love are tour de forces, and harrowing tours of a feminine psyche under siege. They both confirm Ferrante’s reputation as one of Italy’s best contemporary novelists.’
‘There is an increasingly hallucinatory quality to the prose, a vulgarity and grotesqueness, too. Ferrante’s novels are regarded as brilliant. Gritty and confronting, they are about an underbelly of southern Italy tourists rarely see.’
‘Ferrante’s uncompromising directness and her unflinching gaze cannot be faulted.’
‘The most erratic of the three novellas, its unhinged, broken quality matching the psyche of both Delia and her mother, whose violent history is hinted at in the character of a half-drawn child…It’s brave to write a protagonist who at turns shames and exalts her mother with such cruelty and tenderness.’