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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Cover of Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Neapolitan Novels, Book 3
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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...
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...
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Description-

  • 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

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

    Starred review from June 30, 2014
    Surpassing the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles in the Neapolitan Novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name), Ferrante here reunites Elena and Lila, two childhood friends, who dissect subjects as complicated as their own relationship, including feminism and class, men and women, mothers and children, sex and violence, and origin and destiny. As the narrative unfolds in the late 1960s and early ’70s, the fiery Lila stays in Naples, having escaped an abusive marriage, and lives platonically with a man from the neighborhood, along with her young, possibly illegitimate son. The feisty Elena leaves town, graduates from a university in Pisa, publishes a successful book, marries an upper-class professor, and moves to Florence, where she gives birth to two daughters. Against the backdrop of student revolution and right-wing reaction, the two women’s tumultuous friendship seesaws up and down as each tries to outdo the other. “You wanted to write novels,” Lila tells Elena. “I created a novel with real people, with real blood, in reality.” Are the two women less opposites than parts of a whole? The book concludes not with a duality but with a surprising new triangle involving Nino, another homegrown intellectual, who loves both women.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from September 1, 2014
    This third volume of the Neopolitan trilogy continues to chronicle the turbulent lives of longtime friends Lila and Elena, as begun in the enigmatic Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend (2012) and The Story of a New Name (2013). With Naples and the looming specter of Vesuvius once again forming the ominous background to the girls' lives, Elena travels from the city of her childhood, first to the university in Pisa, and then beyond upon her marriage to Pietro, the intellectual heir to an influential Milanese family. Lila's existence in Naples follows a more brutal and mundane course, but both young women are confronted with the social and political upheavals that echoed across Italy (and the world) during the late 1960s and early '70s. Always rivals as well as friends, Lila and Elena struggle to assert themselves in a landscape of shifting alliances and growing corruption in Naples as well as in a culture where women's desires almost never direct the course of family life. The domestic balancing acts performed by both women-one leading a life of privilege, one burdened by poverty and limited choice-illuminate the personal and political costs of self-determination. The pseudonymous Ferrante-whose actual identity invites speculation in the literary world-approaches her characters' divergent paths with an unblinking objectivity that prevents the saga from sinking into melodrama. Elena is an exceptional narrator; her voice is marked by clarity in recounting both external events and her own internal dialogues (though we are often left to imagine Lila's thought process, the plight of the non-narrative protagonist). Goldstein's elegant translation carries the novel forward toward an ending that will leave Ferrante's growing cadre of followers wondering if this reported trilogy is destined to become a longer series. Ferrante's lucid rendering of Lila's and Elena's entwined yet discrete lives illustrates both that the personal is political and that novels of ideas can compel as much as their lighter-weight counterparts.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from September 15, 2014

    Rising far above the melodrama of a typical coming-of-age story, this third in Ferrante's four "Neapolitan Novels" (begun with My Brilliant Friend) exhibits keen intellectual curiosity and heartfelt passion as it continues to explore the lives of childhood friends Lina and Elena. It is now the late 1960s, and class struggle, poverty, extremist politics, and feminist ideas reverberate in the minds and souls of our protagonists, as revealed by narrator Elena, who has left the neighborhood to attend college and eventually publish a novel. Lena, meanwhile, married young and has left her husband, allowing for a rigorous exploration of love, marriage, separation, and the role of children. VERDICT Superbly translated, this tour de force shows off Ferrante's strong storytelling ability and will leave readers eager for the final volume of the series. An excellent choice for book clubs.--Lisa Rohrbaugh, Leetonia Community P.L., OH

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 15, 2014
    The third novel in Ferrante's Neapolitan series continues the engaging story of Elena and Lila, picking up where The Story of a New Name (2013) left off. While Lila is working to support her son following the failure of her marriage, Elena is enjoying the success of her best-selling novel. Though they have been disconnected for some time, when Lila collapses from exhaustion, Elena heeds her cry for help. Drawing strength from each other, they take on the terrible working conditions in the factory where Lila works. But their friendship continues to ebb and flow through marriages, affairs, children, and careers. Each has sought in her own way to escape the limitations of her upbringing, but while Lila does so from the confines of their rough Naples neighborhood, Elena's college degree and marriage into an affluent family open doors that take her farther away. Ferrante continues to imbue this growing saga with great magic, treating the girls' years of marriage and motherhood with breathtaking honesty while envisaging the turbulence of political and social unrest in 1970s Italy. Though originally planned as a trilogy, the story doesn't finish here, as this book ends with a hook that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, 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!"
  • 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."
  • The Economist "Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you've never heard of."
  • 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."
  • Jennifer Gilmore, author of The Mothers "I am such a fan of Ferrante's work, and have been for quite a while."
  • Publisher's Weekly "The women's fraught relationship and shifting fortunes are the life forces of the poignant book."

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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
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