Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay Summary and Reviews

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Neapolitan Novels

by Elena Ferrante

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante X
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2014
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Since the publication of My Brilliant Friend, the first of the Neapolitan novels, Elena Ferrante's fame as one of our most compelling, insightful, and stylish contemporary authors has grown enormously. She has gained admirers among authors - Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Strout, Claire Messud, to name a few - and critics - James Wood, John Freeman, Eugenia Williamson, for example. But her most resounding success has undoubtedly been with readers, who have discovered in Ferrante a writer who speaks with great power and beauty of the mysteries of belonging, human relationships, love, family, and friendship.

In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. 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 have attempted 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 during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Surpassing the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles.... [Ferrante] dissects subjects... including feminism and class, men and women, mothers and children, sex and violence, and origin and destiny." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Cloggie Downunder

A compelling read
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay is the third book in the Neapolitan Novels series by Italian author, Elena Ferrante. This installment takes up the story of Lila Cerullo and Elena Greco when they are in their mid-twenties (1969) and relates the events of their lives until they are in their early thirties (1976). Lila is living in San Giovanni a Teduccio with her young son, Gennaro, under the care of Enzo Scanno, and working at the sausage factory of Bruno Soccavo. Elena has just published her first novel, is about to marry Pietro Airota and move to Florence. Against the background of the political upheaval and violence in Italy during the seventies, Elena details significant incidents in her own life: the mixed reception to her novel, her marriage, children, her further attempts at writing, her encounters with her dear friend, Lila and with the man she has always loved, Nino Sarratore. Elena begins her narration by stating when she last saw Lila (2005) and that the purpose of her narration is to draw Lila (who has been missing since 2010) out to correct her story. The reason for this eventually becomes apparent. Elena relates what she knows of Lila’s life from what she has been told by Lila herself, and what she has heard from others. Ferrante skilfully evokes the feel of Italy and the “neighbourhood” in Naples at this turbulent time, and it is a story with virtually no joy, but plenty of honesty and grit. It is, at times, confronting and never pleasant. Ferrante’s characters are complex and well-formed and, while the reader may be able to identify with some, they are, without exception, unappealing. Elena’s final actions, uncharacteristic as they are, make for a cliff-hanger ending. The first-person narration by Elena gives this series a decidedly autobiographic feel, which is echoed in the subject of her narrator’s own novel. Not only readers new to this series will appreciate the seven-page Index of Characters and Notes on the Events of Earlier Volumes (even if only to distinguish Dino from Gino, Rino, and Nino). Readers will find themselves constantly flicking back to these seven pages to establish the relationships, political affiliations and loyalties of the many characters. This powerful novel is flawlessly translated by Ann Goldstein. Readers who enjoyed the first two books of the series will not be disappointed, and will look forward to the final book of the series. A compelling read.

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Author Information

Elena Ferrante Author Biography

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,...

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Link to Elena Ferrante's Website

Name Pronunciation
Elena Ferrante: EH-leh-nuh feh-RAHN-tay. Rolled "R" in "Ferrante."

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