“Nothing quite like this has ever been published before,” proclaimed The Guardian about the Neapolitan novels in 2014. Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, Elena Ferrante tells the story of a lifelong friendship between two women with unmatched honesty and brilliance.
The Story of the Lost Child is the concluding volume in the dazzling saga of two women— the brilliant, bookish Elena, and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults, with husbands, lovers, aging parents, and children. Their friendship has been the gravitational center of their lives. Both women fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. In this final novel she has returned to Naples, drawn back as if responding to the city’s obscure magnetism. Lila, on the other hand, could never free herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect the neighborhood. Proximity to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, unforgettable.
The four volumes in this series constitute a long remarkable story that readers will return to again and again, and each return will bring with it new revelations.
Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), which was made into a film directed by Roberto Faenza, Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), adapted by Mario Martone, and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), soon to be a film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. She is also the author of Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016) in which she recounts her experience as a novelist, and a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016). The four volumes known as the “Neapolitan quartet” (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) were published in America by Europa between 2012 and 2015. The first season of the HBO series My Brilliant Friend, directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018.