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The Story of a New Name
Cover of The Story of a New Name
The Story of a New Name
Neapolitan Novels, Book 2
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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...
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...
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  • 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)

About the Author-

  • 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 a 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 Severio Costanzo premiered in 2018.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 26, 2013
    The second in a trilogy, book two rejoins narrator Elena Greco and her "brilliant friend" Lina Cerullo as they leave behind their claustrophobic Italian girlhood and enter the tumultuous world of young womanhood with all its accompanying love, loss, and confusion. Against the backdrop of l960s/70s Naples, the previously inseparable girls embark on diverse paths. At 16, Lila has married the prosperous local grocer, Stefano Carraci, only to discover at their wedding reception that he has already betrayed her and damned their union. Conversely Elena has chosen education, a less traditional route to free her from the stultifying village life. Lina asks Elena to hide a box of notebooks from her husband. Instead, she dumps them in the river but not without first reading them. Ferrante masterfully combines Elena's recollections of events with Lila's point of view as documented in her notebooks to drive the narrative. The women's fraught relationship and shifting fortunes are the life forces of this poignant book.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2013
    Roman a clef by the reclusive author who writes under the name Elena Ferrante (The Lost Daughter, 2008, etc.): a beautifully written portrait of a sometimes difficult friendship. Set, as is so much of her work, in her native Naples, Italy, Ferrante's latest is a study in the possibility of triumph over disappointment. Its narrator, Elena Greco, is the daughter of a man who has managed by dint of hard work to rise only to the lowly position of porter at the city government building. Elena is brilliant, but less so than her friend Raffaella Cerullo, called--confusingly, for readers without Italian--Lila or Lina depending on who is talking. Both women, born in the year of liberation, 1944, are ambitious, whip-smart, as at home in the pages of Aristotle as in the hills of their still-battered city. Their native milieu is poor and barely literate, but both have emerged from it, despite the distractions afforded by the boys they like and the violence occasionally visited by those whom they don't. Lina has always outpaced Elena in every way, not least intellectually; as Elena recalls, "I saw that after half a page of the philosophy textbook she was able to find surprising connections between Anaxagoras, the order that the intellect imposes on the chaos of things, and Mendeleev's tables." That chaos, in the first volume of the trilogy to which this volume belongs, sweeps Lina away from her ambitions toward a domesticity that seems almost arbitrary, while Elena, the very definition of a survivor, forges on. Lina, it appears, will always consider her the lesser of equals, someone who, Elena frets, "couldn't even imagine that I might change." Yet, as Ferrante recounts, it is late-blooming Elena whose turn it is to flourish, despite setbacks and false starts; this second book closes with her embarking on what promises to be a brilliant literary career and with the hint that true love may not be far behind. Admirers of Ferrante's work will eagerly await the third volume.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 15, 2013
    Ferrante continues the beautiful tale she started in My Brilliant Friend (2012) with this brilliant second book of a promised trilogy. At 16, best friends Elena and Lila are weary of their impoverished neighborhood and its crippling traditions, but while Lila seeks to alter these circumstances through an advantageous marriage, Elena strives to leave it behind by pursuing her education. When Lila's marriage fails to help her realize her goals, she becomes increasingly spiteful, and Elena, busy with an acceptance to college, grows critical of her progressively unpredictable friend. Once reliant on one another, the girls now find themselves occupying very different spheres in the rapidly changing landscape of 1970s Naples. As circumstances alternately draw them close and push them apart, they face difficult changes in the friendship that has always been their strongest source of love and support. Ferrante's writing is captivating and insightful. She delves deeply into the character of the girls' friendship, ushering them into womanhood with an honesty that is acutely personal. Her keen grasp of emotional nuances and minutiae evokes the work of D. H. Lawrence, and the richness of her storytelling is likely to please fans of Sara Gruen and Silvia Avallone.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • James Wood, The New Yorker "Ferrante's novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader."
  • Megan O'Grady, Vogue "One of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory."
  • Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge "Amazing! My Brilliant Friend took my breath away. If I were president of the world I would make everyone read this book. It is so honest and right and opens up heart to so much. Reading Ferrante reminded me of that child-like excitement when you can't look up from the page, when your eyes seem to be popping from your head, when you think: I didn't know books could do this!"
  • Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones "Elena Ferrante will blow you away."
  • Janet Maslin, The New York Times "Ferrante's emotional and carnal candor are so potent."
  • John Waters, actor and director "I like the Italian writer, Elena Ferrante, a lot. I've been reading all her work and all about her."
  • Gwenyth Paltrow "Elena Ferrante tackles girlhood and friendship with amazing force."
  • The Economist "Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you've never heard of."
  • John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR "[Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels] don't merely offer a teeming vision of working-class Naples, with its cobblers and professors, communists and mobbed-up businessmen, womanizing poets and downtrodden wives; they present one of modern fiction's richest portraits of a friendship."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Ferrante's freshness has nothing to do with fashion...it is imbued with the most haunting music of all, the echoes of literary history."
  • Ann Hood, author of The Obituary Writer "Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name book two in her Naples series. Two words. Read it."
  • Susanna Sonnenberg, author of Her Last Death: A Memoir "Ferrante writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency."
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Lowlands "The Days of Abandonment is a powerful, heartrending novel."
  • Jennifer Gilmore, author of The Mothers "I am such a fan of Ferrante's work, and have been for quite a while."
  • John Freeman, The Australian "No one has a voice quite like Ferrante's. Her gritty, ruthlessly frank novels roar off the page with a barbed fury, like an attack that is also a defense...Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you'll have some idea of how explosive these works are."
  • Publisher's Weekly "The women's fraught relationship and shifting fortunes are the life forces of the poignant book."

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