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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Book Summary : Part of the bestselling saga about childhood friends following different paths by “one of the great novelists of our time” (The New York Times). In the third book in the New York Times–bestselling Neapolitan quartet that inspired the HBO series My Brilliant Friend, Elena and Lila have grown into womanhood. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer. Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons. Both women are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance, and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up for women during the 1970s. And yet, they are still very much bound to each other in a book that “shows off Ferrante’s strong storytelling ability and will leave readers eager for the final volume of the series” (Library Journal). “One of modern fiction’s richest portraits of a friendship.” —NPR
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Book Summary : "Imagine if Jane Austen got angry & you'll have some idea of how explosive these works are" (John Freeman). Since the publication of My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante has gained admirers among authors—Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Strout, Claire Messud, to name a few—and criti— James Wood, John Freeman, Eugenia Williamson, for example. But her most resounding success has been with readers, who have discovered in Ferrante a writer who speaks with great power and beauty of the mysteries of belonging, love, family, and friendship. In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila have become women. Both have attempted pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Book Summary : Since the publication of the acclaimed My Brilliant Friend and The Story of A New Name, Elena Ferrante’s reputation has grown enormously. Her novels about the friendship between Lila and Elena, about the mysteries of human relationships, are utterly compelling. In Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the two protagonists are now in their thirties. Lila, married at sixteen, has left her husband and the comforts of her marriage, and has now joined the workforce. Elena has left the neighbourhood in Naples, been to university, and published a successful novel, all of which has brought her into a wealthier, more cultured world. Both women are seizing opportunities to flee a life of poverty, ignorance and submission. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by an unbreakable bond. Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of seven novels: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and the quartet of Neapolitan Novels: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Fragments, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in early 2016. She is one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors. Ann Goldstein is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. ‘[Ferrante’s] charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high stakes, subversive literature.’ Sunday Telegraph ‘In the past decade, no fiction writer has made it more necessary to think about the performative aspect of being a woman than Elena Ferrante. Her novels, written originally in Italian and translated beautifully by Ann Goldstein, are ferociously engaged with the ways in which a woman—as a daughter, a teenager, a lover, and, most dramatically, a mother—is a kind of person in drag, speaking through a costume that slowly becomes all that one knows of her...It’s Ferrante’s ability to capture both the mirror and the woman standing before it that makes her a writer to be reckoned with.’ John Freeman ‘Nothing you read about Elena Ferrante’s work prepares you for the ferocity of it...This is a woman’s story told with such truthfulness that it is not so much a life observed as it is felt.’ New York Times ‘Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time...In these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now—one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.’ New York Times Sunday Book Review ‘When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles—my job, or acquaintances on the subway—that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one—how?). I am propelled by
The Lost Daughter Book Summary : Basis for the upcoming Maggie Gyllenhaal film starring Olivia Colman: An edgy tale of mixed feelings and motherhood by the author of My Brilliant Friend. Leda, a middle-aged divorcée, is alone for the first time in years after her two adult daughters leave home to live with their father in Toronto. Enjoying an unexpected sense of liberty, she heads to the Ionian coast for a vacation. But she soon finds herself intrigued by Nina, a young mother on the beach, eventually striking up a conversation with her. After Nina confides a dark secret, one seemingly trivial occurrence leads to events that could destroy Nina’s family in this “arresting” novel by the author of the New York Times–bestselling Neapolitan Novels, which have sold millions of copies and been adapted into an HBO series (Publishers Weekly). “Although much of the drama takes place in [Leda’s] head, Ferrante’s gift for psychological horror renders it immediate and visceral.” —The New Yorker “Ferrante’s prose is stunningly candid, direct and unforgettable. From simple elements, she builds a powerful tale of hope and regret.” —Publishers Weekly
The Story of a New Name Book Summary : A novel in the bestselling quartet about two very different women and their complex friendship: “Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it” (The Boston Globe). The follow-up to My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name continues the epic New York Times–bestselling literary quartet that has inspired an HBO series, and returns us to the world of Lila and Elena, who grew up together in post-WWII Naples, Italy. In The Story of a New Name, Lila has recently married and made her entrée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and a source of strength in the face of life’s challenges. In these Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante, “one of the great novelists of our time” (The New York Times), gives us a poignant and universal story about friendship and belonging, a meditation on love and jealousy, freedom and commitment—at once a masterfully plotted page-turner and an intense, generous-hearted family saga. “Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you’ll have some idea of how explosive these works are.” —The Australian “Brilliant . . . captivating and insightful . . . the richness of her storytelling is likely to please fans of Sara Gruen and Silvia Avallone.” —Booklist (starred review)
The Beach at Night Book Summary : A “beautifully written” dark fable from a doll’s point of view—by the New York Times–bestselling author of The Lost Daughter and the Neapolitan Novels (The Washington Post). One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. Readers of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter may recall the little doll—lost or stolen—around which that novel revolves. Here, Ferrante retells the tale from the doll’s perspective. Celina is having a terrible night, one full of jealousy for the new kitten, Minù; feelings of abandonment and sadness; misadventures at the hands of the beach attendant; and dark dreams. But she will be happily found by Mati, her child, once the sun rises . . . “Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it.” —The Boston Globe
The Devil and the Detective Book Summary : Robert James, a private detective more interested in chronicling his cases than solving them, gets a midnight call from a young woman whose older husband has been found with a knife in his chest. Murder, corruption, and betrayal ensue, but hapless Robert and his sidekick can't stop drinking and philosophizing long enough to keep up.
Casebook Book Summary : Spying and eavesdropping on his separating parents at the side of his best friend, young Miles wonders about a stranger's role in his parents' lives before acquiring knowledge that has consequences for the whole family. 25,000 first printing.
Dance on the Volcano Book Summary : Dance on the Volcano tells the story of two sisters growing up during the Haitian Revolution in a culture that swings heavily between decadence and poverty, sensuality and depravity. One sister, because of her singing ability, is able to enter into the white colonial society otherwise generally off limits to people of color. Closely examining a society sagging under the white supremacy of the French colonist rulers, Dance on the Volcano is one of only novels to closely depict the seeds and fruition of the Haitian Revolution, tracking an elaborate hierarchy of skin color and class through the experiences of two young women. It is a story about hatred and fear, love and loss, and the complex tensions between colonizer and colonized, masterfully translated by Kaiama L. Glover. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Frantumaglia Book Summary : One of The Guardian’s Best Books of the Year: Personal writings by the anonymous author who became a literary phenomenon with My Brilliant Friend. The writer known as Elena Ferrante has taken pains to hide her identity in the hope that readers would focus on her body of work. But in this volume, she invites us into Elena Ferrante’s workshop and 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 the Neapolitan Novels, the New York Times–bestselling “enduring masterpiece” (The Atlantic). 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 that story isn’t good enough. She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies. The result is a vibrant and intimate self-portrait of a writer at work. “Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it.” —The Boston Globe
My Brilliant Friend Book Summary : Now an HBO series: the first volume in the New York Times–bestselling “enduring masterpiece” about a lifelong friendship between two women from Naples (The Atlantic). Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Elena Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its main characters, the fiery and unforgettable Lila and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship. This first novel in the series follows Lila and Elena from their fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between two women. “An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends.” —Entertainment Weekly “Spectacular.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air “Captivating.” —The New Yorker
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time Book Summary : The daughter of a British Foreign Service officer, Moira Hodgson spent her childhood in many a strange and exotic land. She discovered American food in Saigon, ate wild boar in Berlin, and learned how to prepare potatoes from her eccentric Irish grandmother. Today, Hodgson has a well-deserved reputation as a discerning critic whose columns in the New York Observer were devoured by dedicated food lovers for two decades. A delightful memoir of meals from around the world—complete with recipes—It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time reflects Hodgson’s talent for connecting her love of food and travel with the people and places in her life. Whether she’s dining on Moroccan mechoui, a whole lamb baked for a day over coals, or struggling to entertain in a tiny Greenwich Village apartment, her reminiscences are always a treat. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Ferrante Letters Book Summary : Like few other works of contemporary literature, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels found an audience of passionate and engaged readers around the world. Inspired by Ferrante’s intense depiction of female friendship and women’s intellectual lives, four critics embarked upon a project that was both work and play: to create a series of epistolary readings of the Neapolitan Quartet that also develops new ways of reading and thinking together. In a series of intertwined, original, and daring readings of Ferrante’s work and her fictional world, Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Katherine Hill, and Jill Richards strike a tone at once critical and personal, achieving a way of talking about literature that falls between the seminar and the book club. Their letters make visible the slow, fractured, and creative accretion of ideas that underwrites all literary criticism and also illuminate the authors’ lives outside the academy. The Ferrante Letters offers an improvisational, collaborative, and cumulative model for reading and writing with others, proposing a new method the authors call collective criticism. A book for fans of Ferrante and for literary scholars seeking fresh modes of intellectual exchange, The Ferrante Letters offers incisive criticism, insouciant riffs, and the pleasure of giving oneself over to an extended conversation about fiction with friends.
The Days of Abandonment Book Summary : Rarely have the foundations upon which our ideas of motherhood and womanhood rest been so candidly questioned. This compelling novel tells the story of one woman’s headlong descent into what she calls an ‘absence of sense’ after being abandoned by her husband. Olga’s ‘days of abandonment’ become a desperate, dangerous freefall into the darkest places of the soul as she roams the empty streets of a city that she has never learned to love. When she finds herself trapped inside the four walls of her apartment in the middle of a summer heat wave, Olga is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal again. Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of seven novels: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and the quartet of Neapolitan Novels: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Fragments, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in early 2016. She is one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors. Ann Goldstein has translated all of Elena Ferrante’s work. She is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. ‘Her novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader.’ New Yorker ‘Everything Olga encounters becomes part of her pattern of thinking, and is accommodated as though it had always existed. This, rather than any graphic ‘candour’, is what makes Ferrante’s writing extraordinary.’ London Review ‘Ferrante puts hammer to flesh and invites her reader to penetrate the page.’ Financial Times ‘Every now and again, an author comes along who dares to remind us that the very pain of abandonment can ratchet us back a few evolutionary notches, knock us to the ground and leave us crawling, babbling like beasts.’ San Diego Union-Tribune ‘If that’s not a great literary novel, I don’t know what is.’ Elle ‘Ferrante is unflinching in drawing a mental landscape that is irrational and cruel...She writes like a rampage, her truth telling implacable and her fury kinetic. The tension in the pages is almost unbearable. The book is a startling treatise on how to stay alive when your world falls apart.’ New Zealand Listener
A Sense of Direction Book Summary : In medieval times, a pilgrimage gave the average Joe his only break from the daily grind. For Gideon Lewis-Kraus, it promises a different kind of escape. Determined to avoid the kind of constraint that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife, he has moved to anything-goes Berlin. But the surfeit of freedom there has begun to paralyze him, and when a friend extends a drunken invitation to join him on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain, he grabs his sneakers, glad of the chance to be committed to something and someone. Irreverent, moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking, A Sense of Direction is Lewis-Kraus's dazzling riff on the perpetual war between discipline and desire, and its attendant casualties. Across three pilgrimages and many hundreds of miles - the thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago, a solo circuit of eighty-eight Buddhist temples on the Japanese island of Shikoku, and, together with his father and brother, an annual mass migration to the tomb of a famous Hasidic mystic in the Ukraine - he completes an idiosyncratic odyssey to the heart of a family mystery and a human dilemma: How do we come to terms with what has been and what is - and find a way forward, with purpose?
Lives of Mothers Daughters Book Summary : Sheila Munro is the daughter of one of the world’s most admired fiction writers: Alice Munro, three-time winner of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award. In Lives of Mothers and Daughters, she reveals what it was like to grow up with a mother of such tremendous renown. At the core of the book lies a loving and intimate biography of Alice, presented as only a daughter can. Sheila traces the story back to her ancestors, who left Scotland in the early 19th century, before telling of Alice’s birth in 1931, her youth growing up on an Ontario farm, and her two marriages, and two grandchildren--Sheila’s own children. Sheila has a tale to tell that’s her own as well, involving her writerly aspirations and her efforts to forge a unique path while following in her mother’s footsteps. And so, from her perspective as both an author and a mother, Sheila writes frankly about her mother and her mother’s writing. The legions of devoted Alice Munro fans will glimpse real-life settings, situations and characters that have worked their way into her fiction as Sheila offers a behind-the-scenes tour (replete with Munro family snapshots) of the inspirations for the tales Munro fans know and love.
The Vanishing Sky Book Summary : For readers of Warlight and The Invisible Bridge, an intimate, harrowing story about a family of German citizens during World War II. Included in the New York Times Book Review's Summer Reading Guide for Historical Fiction “There was no shelter without her sons.” In 1945, as the war in Germany nears its violent end, the Huber family is not yet free of its dangers or its insidious demands. Etta, a mother from a small, rural town, has two sons serving their home country: her elder, Max, on the Eastern front, and her younger, Georg, at a school for Hitler Youth. When Max returns from the front, Etta quickly realizes that something is not right-he is thin, almost ghostly, and behaving very strangely. Etta strives to protect him from the Nazi rule, even as her husband, Josef, becomes more nationalistic and impervious to Max's condition. Meanwhile, miles away, her younger son Georg has taken his fate into his own hands, deserting his young class of battle-bound soldiers to set off on a long and perilous journey home. The Vanishing Sky is a World War II novel as seen through a German lens, a story of the irreparable damage of war on the home front, and one family's participation-involuntary, unseen, or direct-in a dangerous regime. Drawing inspiration from her own father's time in the Hitler Youth, L. Annette Binder has crafted a spellbinding novel about the choices we make for country and for family.
All Souls Book Summary : By one of the most important voices in contemporary world literature, a darkly comic novel about that most British of institutions, Oxford University. In All Souls, a visiting Spanish lecturer, viewing Oxford through a prismatic detachment, is alternately amused, puzzled, delighted, and disgusted by its vagaries of human vanity. A bit lonely, not always able to see his charming but very married mistress, he casts about for activity; he barely has to teach. Yet so much goes into simply "being" at Oxford: friendship, opinion-mongering, one-upmanship, finicky exchanges of favors, gossip, adultery, book-collecting, back-patting, backstabbing. Marías demonstrates a sweet tooth for eccentricity in this sly campus novel and love story.