Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story of a New Name

(L'amica geniale #2)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  108,534 ratings  ·  7,378 reviews
The second book, following 2012’s acclaimed My Brilliant Friend, featuring the two friends Lila and Elena. The two protagonists are now in their twenties. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila. Meanwhile, Elena continues her journey of self-discovery. The two young women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times, and drives them apart at others. ...more
ebook, 471 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Europa Editions (first published September 22nd 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Story of a New Name, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  108,534 ratings  ·  7,378 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2)
Francesca Marciano
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
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Violet wells
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, 21st-century, italy
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
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
Michael Finocchiaro
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
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it just as much the 2nd time reading it. I adore these characters and would read 100 books about them.
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.
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
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

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
[From L'amie prodigieuse]


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.

Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy, naples
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
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Em Lost In Books
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
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
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
4.5 stars

This, the second instalment of the Neapolitan series, held my attention in a vice grip from the first minute. It continues into young adulthood the story of the friendship of Lenu and Lila - a complex, competitive connection which spurs on much DRAMA.

Yes, drama, drama, drama - so many fights, beatings, broken hearts, betrayals, pregnancies (it made me laugh a little how they are always surprised at what results from repeated unprotected sex) and oh so much more! Such high highs, such lo
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
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'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,
Glenn Sumi
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Raul Bimenyimana
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
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
Elyse  Walters
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Normal People
  • Conversations with Friends
  • Lacci
  • The Florios of Sicily
  • L'Arminuta
  • La amiga estupenda (Dos amigas 1) de Elena Ferrante (Guía de lectura): Resumen y análisis completo
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • Confidenza
  • Accabadora
  • Americanah
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  • A Little Life
  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  • L'isola di Arturo
  • Lessico famigliare
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • La casa delle voci
See similar books…
Elena Ferrante is a pseudonymous Italian novelist. Ferrante's books, originally published in Italian, have been translated into many languages. Her four-book series of Neapolitan Novels are her most widely known works.

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)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We’ve got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
32 likes · 5 comments
“she was explaining to me that I had won nothing, that in the world there is nothing to win, that her life was full of varied and foolish adventures as much as mine, and that time simply slipped away without any meaning, and it was good just to see each other every so often to hear the mad sound of the brain of one echo in the mad sound of the brain of the other.” 174 likes
“Words: with them you can do and undo as you please.” 149 likes
More quotes…