This book invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of over twenty years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.
In these pages Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films. She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that it isn’t good enough for publication. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse of memories, material, and stories. The result is a vibrant and intimate selfportrait of a writer at work.
The interview that begins on p. 299 of Frantumaglia is incorrectly attributed to Mauricio Meireles. This interview was conducted by Isabel Lucas and published on July 17 2015 in Público's literary supplement Ipsilon under the title “Elena Ferrante? Treze letras, nem mais new menus.” The editors of Frantumaglia wish to express their apologies to all parties concerned.
“[The Neapolitan Novels are] the most powerful and nuanced view of female friendship ever written.”—The New York Times
“Nothing quite like [the Neapolitan Novels] has ever been published . . . Brilliant novels, exquisitely translated.”—Meghan O’Rourke, The Guardian
“Her charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw.”—The Telegraph
“With the publication of her Neapolitan Novels, (Ferrante) has established herself as the foremost writer in Italy – and the world.”—The Sunday Times
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.