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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

(L'amica geniale #3)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  124,385 ratings  ·  7,461 reviews
Set in the late 1960s and the 1970s, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay continues the story of the feisty and rebellious Lina and her lifelong friend, the brilliant and bookish Elena. Lina, after separating from her husband, is living with her young son in a new neighborhood of Naples and working at a local factory. Elena has left Naples, earned a degree from an elite coll ...more
Paperback, 418 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Europa Editions (first published October 30th 2013)
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Guillermo Arbe Hi Helen.
The books (I'm halfway through book four) have helped me understand my wife more, I think (not sure yet if she would agree). Especially in te…more
Hi Helen.
The books (I'm halfway through book four) have helped me understand my wife more, I think (not sure yet if she would agree). Especially in terms of mood changes and interpreting, re-interpreting and re-re-interpreting the acts and words of others. The book ratifies that men and women see things differently. I suspected as much, but I was never able so clearly to see the issue from a woman's perspective before reading Ferrante. I was struck by how Elena Greco described how difficult it is to be authentic in one's womanhood and succeed in the male dominated world. Even the social definition of womanhood itself is from the male perspective and imposed on woman, and yet, as Greco says, "no man can know what it feels like to be in my body, a woman's body". It opened up my eyes and made me wonder.(less)
lixy Yes. It's a slow burn with Ferrante. It starts slow and enclosed with the 2 little girls in their constrained miserable life (can be hard to read, and…moreYes. It's a slow burn with Ferrante. It starts slow and enclosed with the 2 little girls in their constrained miserable life (can be hard to read, and seem tedious to get into, but is utterly engrossing in itself) but as they and the story expands outwards to other characters the payoff for having been through every detail of their psychological foundations and the underpinnings of their complex relationship becomes immeasurably more powerful and explosive.(less)

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Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book left me speechless.

I've spent the last few weeks reading Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, and I have grown increasingly attached to her two main characters, Elena and Lila. These women are so well-drawn and seem so real that I was anxious about what will happen to them. When I finished this book last night — on the edge of my seat, by the way, because there was yet another dramatic ending — I was so unsteady that I had to rest a moment, pondering the fates of the women.

I refuse to spoil a
Violet wells
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, 21st-century
I finished this today, the day Elena Ferrante’s identity has reportedly been revealed. I confess I feel a bit guilty now because while reading this there were several times I found myself wishing I knew how much was fiction and how much autobiography. I wondered this because it struck me that when Lila disappears from the pages so too does the electric charge Ferrante’s writing has. Ferrante writes well about Elena’s initiation into university life, the Milan literati, Italian political unrest, ...more


Okay, I've calmed down enough to write a review (more like a "review") so that I can move on to the next book. This installment was the most frustrating one to read thus far. It feels disjointed and the entire middle of the book is sloooooow. It's hard to tell if this is an artistic choice - does the reader have to experience the same sort of ennui that Elena does as a new mother? if so, are hundreds of pages appropriate? - or if the story simply drags
[From Le nouveau nom]

I wrote and rewrote my review of Elena Ferrante's third volume, but each version I produced seemed stupider than the last; empty words, tired formulas, a well-crafted and earnest nullity of expression. In the end, although I had promised myself I would not do so, I emailed the draft to my friend and asked for her advice. An hour later, she skyped me back.

"So what do you expect me to do?" she asked. She seemed to be in a particularly bad mood. "You're the reviewer. You un
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
4.5 stars Review to come. But obviously it was great.
Ok, now that I've had time to come up with some thoughts--though, no promises that they will be coherent--I can attempt to write a review of this one. Like the 2 preceding novels in the Neapolitan novels series by the fabulous Elena Ferrante, this one is quite hard to rate on its own. The stories are so dependent on one another, and Ferrante so excellently doles out information that your reading of 1 book in the series seriously affects you
”Each of us narrates our life as it suits us.” ~Lila Cerullo

Mount Vesuvius simmers on the edges of Naples, a dragon in slumber, a metaphor for the rumbling, teeming city that erupts in violence without warning. The view of the volcano's hulking presence, seen through the windows of an upscale apartment, serves as proof that one has risen above the squalor of “the neighborhood” to arrive in the loftier heights. But no amount of money or education can sand away the rough resentments of those raise
Angela M (On a little break)

Dramatic, maybe melodramatic at times, but so gripping as the lives of these two women take hold of the reader once again with their complicated friendship. The narration by Elena is introspective, but yet when she speaks of Lila and tells her story, it feels equally as intimate. Once again I was pulled into their lives, caring about them, while not always liking them, thinking about the two little girls from the streets of Naples and where life has taken them.

Life in 1970’s Italy with the mess
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Each book in the Neapolitan series has its different delights. In Volume One, My Brilliant Friend, it was childhood, education and ambition. In Volume Two, The Story of a New Name, the zombie-like mindlessness of youthful sexual awakening. Here, its wealth and poverty and the irrationality of lovers.

Author Ferrante shows us why Communism was embraced by so many hardworking Italians. Her tale may be beholden to Ignazio Silone, yet it gives one a compelling understanding of the hopes and dreams th
Finally getting back to this series. I thoroughly enjoyed books one and two by Ferrante. But I waited to get to book three. I started this series via audio and wanted to finish them all via audio. Oddly, my library only had books 1, 2, and 4 in audio. So I waited for them to get it. But the main reason I waited.....I dread seeing the end of this absolutely amazing story!

Again we are drawn into the lives of Elena and Lila. This book picks up immediately where book 2 left off, though they all do t
Michael Finocchiaro
I am barreling through Ferrante books and loving them. In book 3, Elena and Lila are now in their 20s and 30s and still living parallel and occasionally intersecting lives with mariage, lovers, kids, and lots of self-questioning. There is not one particular aspect or scene that comes to mind, but the overall impression of a very Proustian inspired look at the varying fates of these two women and how much they are changed (and unchanged) by the society that is changing around them. The secondary ...more
Claire Melanie
This book was pretty readable and I'm curious to find out what happens to the characters after having read the two previous books in this series but there are literally no likeable characters at all. They're all such insufferable self obsessed arseholes who are hideous to each other and completely self involved. Really weird. I guess I'll read the last one cause this one certainly ended on a cliffhanger. ...more
"Become… I wanted to become, even though I had never known what. And I had become, that was certain, but without an object, without a real passion, without a determined ambition. I had wanted to become something – here was the point – only because I was afraid that Lila would become someone and I would stay behind. My becoming was a becoming in her wake. I had to start again to become, but for myself, as an adult, outside of her."

I finished this third book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series t
Elyse Walters
Elena is married, living in Florence with a husband she fights with often.
They have two daughters.....making her life even more complicated. Choices need to be made. Will she leave....or will she stay? And regardless of her choice--what else has to happen? For her? Her children? Husband? Is being happy with yourself dependent on if you stay OR leave?
Basically- Elena is not content as a Betty Crocker type domestic-woman.
She spends a great amount of time evaluating her every move, her every thou
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From the beginning, the reading of Ferrante has been a visceral experience. Yet, reading her standalone novels first did not prepare for me for what a hyperrealistic fever dream these Neapolitan Novels have been. Unlike hyperrealistic works of visual art where what is underneath proves that the picture is not real, what is underneath here seems all too real. Upon finishing this installment I even felt guilty, as if I were complicit in the character's decisions.

The narrator's scholarly work on ma
Jun 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant just as the rest of the series. Hypnotizing phycological novel that emerges you into chaotic and emotional Naples. It's predictable but surprising at the same time. No grand events but enormous feelings. It's familiar and yet exotic. And the third book took even more feminist approach and deepened the discussion on social injustices, which made it more than just a story of the complex relationship with fascinating historical background (cos where else would you read about Italian commu ...more
Francesca Marciano
Reading Elena Ferrante's trilogy has been a marathon of never ending awe. I'm still electrified from reading the last volume. Lila and lena will stay with me for a very very long time. Pleease read "My Brilliant Friend" trilogy and keep in mind that it gets better and better and better and better as you turn each page. ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Ferrante’s singularity is to make a glory of introspection and turn it into theatre. There’s a dark ardour present in her writing, and a thrilling physicality to her metaphors, boldly translated by Ann Goldstein. She speaks of “the anxious pleasure of violence”, of desire feeling “like a drop of rain in a spiderweb”. Her charting of the rivalries and sheer inscrutability of female friendship is raw. This is high-stakes, subversive literature."
Catherine Taylor for The Telegraph

A theatre of intro
Brown Girl Reading
And the saga continues.... This book is a slow burn. The first 100 pages are pretty bland to be honest but by page 200 I was all in again and by 300 I was unable to stop reading. The subtlety and attention to details are incredible! As I read this series it feels like it's based on reality. Ferrante, still writing from Lenu's point of view, shows us what happens to those who leave nd those who stay. All I can say is brilliant book/writing and I recommend it. ...more
Em Lost In Books
How did things got this messy and dirtier?
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I give up. Elena Ferrante and I are not simpatico. I have this novel- I'm skimming- I'm dreading the wordiness, the limbo, the chatter of the novel. They are simply grim books, filled with agony after agony in detail. Life is tough enough but to have to expose myself to the microscopic examination of lives which never seem joyful, the minutiae of the mundane, the scrutiny of unfulfilled lives- I give up. Those who love these books- go for them. We all have choices. These aren't mine. Bye, Elena. ...more
Series described as, inter alia, Passionate, Vicious, Intimate, Sweeping, Challenging, Flummoxing, Ferocious, High Stakes, Subversive and Blisteringly Good on Bad Sex
If you've not started reading them, WHY NOT?

Neapolitan actress Valeria Golino [Hot, Hot, Hot]

The 3d of the "Neapolitan Novels" tetralogy by Italian novelist Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym). Ms. Ferrante says she considers the four volumes to constitute one novel. Instead of giving an overall description of the books again, I'll jus
I am completely and utterly spellbound, bewitched. Each novel in the series is getting me more hooked.

Again, where do I start? I'll just write a few thoughts.

It's the 70s. Elena is married to her university boyfriend, who's now a Professor and a very dull individual. Ferrante is brilliant at conveying the loneliness of domesticity. The conflict between loving your family and wanting to be there for them and the mind-numbness of the constant chores. Even the sex is a chore. Elena is disappointed
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Political turmoil rages through the Italian landscape when Elena finally gets married to her professor, Pietro Airota, and Lila has settled down living with Enzo. Their worlds are a million miles apart as far as the two different lifestyles they have chosen is concerned.

It doesn't take long for Elena to realize, what Lila could have told her anyway:
Marriage by now seemed to me an institution that, contrary to what one might think, stripped coitus of all humanity."
Years pass in which they do no
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author certainly knows how to write a family saga. She just drags you in, fascinates you with details and leaves you, 418 pages later, with your mouth hanging open in amazement. Of course you have to rush out and get book four immediately. This despite the fact that most of the characters are not very nice people.

All of the books are built upon the unusual bond between Lila and Lenu which is much more than just a friendship. Lenu appears to have escaped her small town upbringing and has mo
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, italy, naples
In this book Lenù grows up, and suddenly Ferrante's meandering internal monologues swing into orbit around the twin poles of SEX and POLITICS. Perhaps this is why I found it more successful than the first two – the experiences of 60s student politics, the fight for workers' rights, Elena's gradual feminist awakening, all embed the neighbourhood of the earlier novels satisfyingly into a larger context, while her tangled relationships seemed more meaningful to me than the stuff she was worrying ab ...more
Originally published on my blog, ShouldaCouldaWoulda Books.

Hello and welcome back to the third edition of Kelly Freaks Out Over Elena Ferrante Theater!

I hope that you didn’t come in here with the expectation that this was going to be the time that I got disillusioned with Elena, did you? Because that seems unlikely to happen. Ever. At least not with these Neapolitan novels. These things are like crack brownie ice cream pot (insert more adjectives that indicate addiction and deliciousness here) s
4.25 stars

Part three of the Neapolitan series. It's a continuation of the ever fascinating lives of the girls from the neighbourhood, Lila and Lenu. Their evolution and their friendship, still complex, is still compelling.

While reading this, I had some thoughts:

1) Amid all the fighting and drama (of which there is a never-ending supply), NO ONE seems to be having good sex!
2) Lila is so unlikeable, about 99.9% of the time. I have a hard time understanding why Lenu hangs onto her. Some of the thin
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading over 1000 pages in this trilogy, I am unable to find even one sympathetic character. They are just a self-absorbed bunch consumed by petty jealousies and strange alliances.

I had real sympathy for the two main characters when they were very bright children living in a dangerous, poverty filled neighborhood. (My Brilliant Friend).

I could even understand the poor decisions as teenagers. It was fun to read about their successes as adults (Story of a New Name).

But, once they grew up
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This third book in The Neapolitan Novels was just as good as the other two. I think what is the most interesting about this series is to see how the two protagonists, Elena and Lila, grow up and develop from children to adults. In this book, it becomes clear that they develop in different ways and create a distance in their friendship, but still the tense dynamics between them was maintained.
I'm pretty eager to read the last book in this series and see how everything ends :)
Paul Fulcher
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
"Because - and this was hard to admit - my model remained Lina, with her stubborn unreasonableness that refused to accept half measures, so that, although I was distant from her in every way, I wanted to say and do what I imagined she would do if she had my tools, if she had not confined herself within the space of the neighbourhood."

Volume 3 of Elena's Ferrante's Neopolitan series returns us to the story of Elena and her childhood and lifelong friend Lina . Ferrante originally planned a trilog
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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. ...more

Other books in the series

L'amica geniale (4 books)
  • My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)
  • The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2)
  • The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

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