It’s been over a year since the release of the tremendously satisfying finale to the Neapolitan Quartet, The Story of the Lost Child, and Elena Ferrante’s name is still on everyone’s lips (and some other names are on some other lips, but I’ll let that lie). As someone who anticipated the fourth book with a rabid fanaticism I can only compare to my own teenage fervor for The Deathly Hallows, I completely understand why Ferrante Fever hasn’t fizzled out.
Simply put, the quartet was unlike any writing I’d encountered: an unsparing look at the frenzied, sometimes ugly, interior lives of two women and how complicated but how deep and giving a love/hate friendship can be. It didn’t shy away, it didn’t beautify, and it propelled you forward with such ferocity that putting down the book felt like hitting the brakes and sitting, dizzied, for however many moments you needed to gather yourself.
Who wouldn’t want more of that? Here’s where to turn when everything else pales in comparison.