OMG: Elena Ferrante, Unpacked (James Wood, The New Yorker, 21 January 2013)

You know, self was dithering about whether or not to extend her New Yorker subscription.  But after reading the James Wood review of Ferrante’s work, in the 21 January 2013 issue of The New Yorker, she is definitely extending.

The one novel by Elena Ferrante that self has read, The Days of Abandonment (published 2002) is — despite a downer of a title — very, very absorbing (Self forgets who did the translation).  Wood quotes the following passage from it:

I don’t give a shit about prissiness.  You wounded me, you are destroying me, and I’m supposed to speak like a good, well-brought up wife?  Fuck you!

Self thinks dear blog readers will agree:  Ferrante’s narrator is one angry dame.  Which is why self adores her.

Wood lists three other novels by Ferrante:  Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and My Brilliant Friend, all of which self has added to her reading list.

Furthermore, there is a mystery around Ferrante:  “What she looks like, what her real name is, when she was born, how she currently lives — these things are all unknown.”  This, in spite of what Wood calls “the effortful prying of the Italian press — Why have you chosen this privacy?  Are you hiding the autobiographical nature of your work?  Is there any truth to the rumor that your work is really by Domenico Starnone?”  Self had never heard of Domenico Starnone but that sounds like a man’s name and self is sure Elena Ferrante is not a man.

All Ferrante’s novels are narrated by women.  They cover (again quoting Wood):  “child abuse, divorce, motherhood, wanting and not wanting children, the tedium of sex, the repulsions of the body, the narrator’s struggle to retain a cohesive identity within a traditional marriage and amid the burdens of child rearing.  The novels present themselves (with the exception of the latest) like case histories, full of flaming rage, lapse, failure, and tenuous psychic success.”

Ferrante, a novelist after self’s own heart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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