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The Story of a New Name

(L'amica geniale #2)

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4.39  ·  Rating details ·  104,194 ratings  ·  7,115 reviews
In 2012, Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend introduced readers to the unforgettable Elena and Lila, whose lifelong friendship provides the backbone for the Neapolitan Novels. The Story of a New Name is the second book in this series. With these books, which the New Yorker's James Wood described as "large, captivating, amiably peopled ... a beautiful and delicate tale of ...more
Paperback, 471 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Europa Editions (first published September 22nd 2012)
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Amanda Can I be team anti-Nino? While we are discussing around the girls I think that our energy should be anti this unbearable and arrogant guy.
This novel …more
Can I be team anti-Nino? While we are discussing around the girls I think that our energy should be anti this unbearable and arrogant guy.
This novel is built around social, gender and class norms and discussing Lila and Lenù goes against the central ideas in the book. (less)

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Average rating 4.39  · 
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Francesca Marciano
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I finished Elena Ferrante's second volume a few hours ago and I'm overwhelmed by her power. She writes with her fingers stuck inside a electric plug. She drills and drills all the way through the tiniest sensation, till she reaches raw matter. The story of the New Name is even more entrancing than My brilliant friend, the first volume of the trilogy, which I devoured. Lila and Lena, the two protagonists of volume one, are now two women. Their love hate relationship grows more intricate, so does ...more
Diane
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: italy, modern-fiction
This novel broke my heart. It broke my heart so badly that I had to stop reading it for a few days to recover.

This is the second book of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series, and it follows Elena and Lila from their teenage years and into their early 20s. Their neighborhood in Naples is still rough and violent in the 1960s, but Lila's marriage to the wealthy grocer Stefano allows her to climb out of the poverty. The two friends were often competitive, especially about school, but in book two, they
...more
Violet wells
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 21st-century, italy, faves
Elena Ferrante is an absolute marvel. This was utterly ravishing. How does she do it? Structurally her novels could hardly be more conservative, her subject matter – the fraught friendship of two women – has been done to death. And yet you’re constantly left with the feeling that no one has ever done what she does before. Or at least no one has done it with such searing insight and freshness.

Only a handful of writers can undress and get to the heart of women as lucidly and thrillingly as Ferran
...more
Kelly
What's your ugly place?

We all have one. We all have a place we quite deliberately do not go to. That we are aware is there, but have developed systems and defensive walls and jokes and denials in order to keep it out of the light of day. It's the place you can't help but end up sometimes when something particularly embarrassing happens to you, something tragic, an epiphany about yourself that you didn't particularly want occurs to you. It's the place where you were the person you never, ever wan
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a marvelous novel with heart and soul, Neapolitan heart and soul that is. The second installment in the famous Elena Ferrante tetralogy, for me anyway, exceeded the first book in originality and plot line. I found it moving and a very quick read despite its nearly 500 page length.

For this review, I wanted to focus on the title and the importance of names in Ferrante's work. First off, there is, it seems to me, a Proustian reference here to "Le nom du pays - Le nom" which is the somewhat
...more
WILLIAM2
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"For your whole life you love people and you never really know who they are." (Nunzia to Lenù, p.215)

This one's a heartbreaker. So exquisitely rendered that you'll recognize your own hideous pain rising up to assail you again, dear Reader; your losses, your miseries in the cause of love. Ferrante makes universal the disparate pain all loving creatures suffer. Toward the end, when reality becomes too much for some of the characters, they descend into scarily dissociative states that surprise and
...more
Maxwell
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it just as much the 2nd time reading it. I adore these characters and would read 100 books about them.
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4.5 stars Update: Bumping this one up to a 5 stars because after a few months of thinking about it, it's definitely my favorite in the series. I keep finding myself thinking of certain scenes and elements of this installment, and I love it.
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I'm not sure if I can write a coherent review of this book right now. There are so many layers to this story, so much to unpack, and yet still
...more
Candi
4.5 stars

"Yes, it’s Lila who makes writing difficult. My life forced me to imagine what hers would have been if what happened to me had happened to her, what use she would have made of my luck. And her life continuously appears in mine, in the words that I’ve uttered, in which there’s often an echo of hers, in my less which is such because of her more, in my more which is the yielding to the force of her less."

This second book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series continues the story of two chil
...more
Agnieszka

I’m still a bit puzzled about the phenomen that Ferrante’s cycle is. I don’t find writing particuralry brilliant, I think I didn’t mark any single quote here and yet enjoyed the story. I thought it was very predictible at times, I could see what was coming and mostly hadn’t been suprised by the course of events and still kept reading. I can't say it was innovative or imaginative yet Ferrante managed to draw me in her world entirely. Maybe I’m mistaken, but as I mentioned in the review of MBF, I
...more
Manny
[From L'amie prodigieuse]

Woman2

Choice of role

You can be either a bad girl or a good girl. When you have played a bit more, you can even try combining these two roles! See "Advanced options" below.

Bad girl

If you are a bad girl, you will be able to speak your mind and express your sexuality freely, but you will be beaten, raped and called a whore and a witch. You may also be subjected to other punishments, such as being disowned by your family or forced into a dangerous and poorly remunerated job.

G
...more
Warwick
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: italy, naples, fiction
I tore through this in a kind of furious curiosity, annoyed with myself for being so involved and annoyed with Ferrante for taking so long to do what she does. The plot, heavy on frustrated emotion, is drawn out with intense internal monologues and telenovela miscommunications – and yet the actual characters are so real, built with such psychological verisimilitude, that you are fascinated despite yourself. The effect is as though Doris Lessing spent a season guest-writing for Days of our Lives. ...more
Trish
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When we get to the end of the second book in Ferrante’s quartet of novels, we think we see the genesis of that quartet: a twenty-day writing exercise that took the angst out of university graduation for Elena Greco, also called Lenù. Although I struggled through this volume, listening to the voices of teens talking about their confusion and noting their lack of confidence while they strode boldly ahead, all was forgiven in the last one hundred pages.

The girls are now women, having earned a few h
...more
Em Lost In Books
Such whirlwind of emotions, it just doesn't give me the chance to settle down. It was hard to put it down. I will definitely write more here but first I want to know what happens next, so now I am on to next book.
Perry
Phenomenal Favola--Due Amici

This is the second of a tetralogy called the "Neopolitan Novels," by Italian novelist Elena Ferrante (pseudonym), who says she considers the four volumes to constitute one novel. The books were so popular in Italy that the periodical publications regularly engaged in a game of speculation on the author's true identity.

The books center on the lives and friendship of two girls from Naples, Italy, Elena Greco (called sometimes "Lenù") and Raffaella ("Lila") Cerullo.
...more
Julie Christine
It is the early-mid 1960s and Naples is experiencing an economic and cultural renaissance: the post-war boom has created a new consumer class, with fancy shoe boutiques staffed by pretty girls dressed up like Jackie O. In university halls, students speak of the two Germanys, Indochina, nuclear arms, and Communism.

But not everything has changed. In the darker neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, where violence is an accepted means of communication and a woman’s worth is tallied by first h
...more
Teresa
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This Europa editions' cover is silly, even more unsuitable than the cover of the first book of the series. Ferrante's focus is not on romance at all -- there is nothing romantic about the desperate, grasping lives these people lead -- her scope is epic: social and political.

In my review of My Brilliant Friend I noted that flight was not yet an option for the girls. Even if it becomes so, the impossibility of fleeing your origins hovers over them in this installment. While reading one section, I
...more
Melanie
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Partly because her work describes domestic experiences – such as vivid sexual jealousy and other forms of shame – that are underexplored in fiction, Ferrante’s reputation is soaring, especially among women (Zadie Smith, Mona Simpson and Jhumpa Lahiri are fans). Her writing has a powerful intimacy – as if her characters, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, are the lenses through which we read our own minds. The novelist Claire Messud emailed, “When you write to me and say you love her work, I hav ...more
PorshaJo
Rating a 4.5

Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo are friends, and through these books, you get the details of their lives and their friendship. You do not get a glimpse of their lives, you hear the minutiae of their daily lives. And you know what...it's utterly fascinating. This is a book to be savored slowly. There really is so much going on and there are so many people from the neighborhood that move in and out of the story. The story packs in so much - love, betrayal, friendship, marriage, adultery,
...more
Glenn Sumi
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-usa-can-uk
Stayed up until 4am to finish. So worth it. Will review when I can collect my thoughts (and get some sleep).
Doug Bradshaw
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rarely have I experienced a more personal and honest picture of someone’s private inner thoughts, the mechanics of friendship and growing up, with all of the pressures of deeply ingrained habits and customs of a different culture and generation: If you are chosen by a young male from a successful family and asked to marry, who are you to turn him down? It doesn’t matter that you aren’t attracted to him. If you were to say no, your father would beat you and disown you. But don’t worry, over time ...more
Phrynne
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
In this second book in the series we see Elena and Lila as they move on in their lives, no longer truly friends, but still held together by the same almost inexplicable bond they have had since they were small.

The whole novel is told from Elena's point of view and sometimes it is hard to understand why Lila does some of the things she does. Elena on the other hand is constantly struggling to improve herself and to achieve a better life. Sadly she has a very poor opinion of her own self worth and
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Harper's Magazine October 2014
I read the first book in this series, My Brilliant Friend, over a year ago, but always thought I liked it enough to read the next one sometime. I just wasn't in a hurry. (You can read my review of book one here.)

I'm certainly glad I finally dug into this one. Where the first book was about childhood and adolescence, with the microcosmic world of girlhood friendships (and conflicts) and aspirations, this book focuses on the two women, Lila and Elena, in their upper teen years. For Lila, this is a
...more
Raul Bimenyimana
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story continues, and it is still as riveting as the first volume was. This book begins where the previous, My Brilliant Friend, ended. Where violence was brimming in the previous novel, it pours out in this one.

Lila and Lenu are growing up, it is the late 1960s and although the story primarily still takes place in the poor neighbourhood in Naples, Lila through marriage ascends the social ladder while Lenu is still struggling to follow suit, but through education.

Reading this book, I was so
...more
Linda
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Story of A New Name just threw me over the cliff. By the time that I got to the final sentence on Page 471, I barely even knew my own name.......

If you've been following the HBO series of the same name, you must be familiar with this outstanding series filmed in Italy with subtitles. Not your usual brew? Think again.

We're hunkered down on one of the curbs lining the dusty streets in an older section of Naples. We view two little girls clutching their dolls and leaving echoes of their laught
...more
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another great narrative that continues the story of Lila's and Elena's friendship. In this book, tensions between them become even more strained as they grow up to become adults. The dynamics between them is very interesting to read about, and I liked this novel just as much as the first one in the series.
Elyse  Walters
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Geeee, Holy moly...."PEDAL TO THE METAL"!!!!! In the same way, I've binge watched
TV series ---shows everyone else had watched---I'm having my first
'binge-book-series'.

BOOK TWO has readers FULL ATTENTION immediately. No creepy-crawling into
"The Story of a New Name". As good as "My Brilliant Friend" was...this is BETTER-
It goes deeper into the most private lives of all the characters - especially Elena and Lila.
Their lives have taken different routes ( Lila married Stefano Carracci, which come
...more
Edward
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Story of a New Name is a novel about frustration. Frustration is the underlying motivation for each character, manifesting in different ways for the individuals, but in repetitive and self-reinforcing patterns that in turn create a chain of similar outcomes within the community: violence, broken marriages, and suffocating, unhappy lives.

At the centre of the novel, though viewed from a somewhat removed position is Lila’s frustration, her failure of self-actualisation arising from her early ma
...more
Bianca
How does one even begin to review this second volume in the Neapolitan series?

What an incredible, mesmerising, overwhelming, raw, audacious, intimate novel this is. How masterful Ferrante's writing is, managing to unfold the complexities of life in a poor neighbourhood of Naples in the early 60's, but most importantly, the human complexities, especially of the two female protagonists, Lila and Elena (Lenu).

This second instalment picks up where it left off in the previous volume, with Lila being
...more
Chrissie
Dear friends, how often is it that I dump a book? Don't I usually stick them out to the end? Well, I have had it with this one. It has not improved. I have gone over the half-way mark. Another 8.5 hours is unbearable.

In the first book of this series there is a friendship, albeit complicated. Now there is no semblance at all of any possible reason for friendship. You may think differently, but that is how I see it. I detest (view spoiler)! IF this is meant to be a coming-of
...more
Lydia
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm a lonely Elena Ferrante lover; won't you join me in my rabid admiration of this phenomenal Italian novelist? This book blew me away. It is poignant, enraging, sad, triumphant, inspiring, devastating. It continues the story (from My Brilliant Friend) of two besties in 1950s Naples who take (and I won't say choose) different paths in life. One escapes the brutal poverty and gratuitous violence of the neighborhood, the other sticks her toe into different lives but cannot escape her fate. Please ...more
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Elena Ferrante is a pseudonymous Italian novelist.
Ferrante is the author of a half dozen novels, including The Lost Daughter (originally published as La figlia oscura, 2006).
In 2012, Europa Editions began publication of English translations of Ferrante's "Neapolitan Novels," a series about two perceptive and intelligent girls from Naples who try to create lives for themselves within a violent an
...more

Other books in the series

L'amica geniale (4 books)
  • My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)
  • The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

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