Kristina A's Reviews > The Story of a New Name

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
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Jan 25, 2015

it was amazing
Recommended to Kristina by: Amy Woodbury Tease

From the minute I picked this one up, it was like, "ah, yes, this is what I want to be reading." I took some time between reading the first and second books, but from the first page, I felt myself sinking deliciously into the intense world Ferrante has created.

For me, the thing that makes these books so amazing is the level of detail Ferrante goes into to describe the emotions and actions of the characters. She spares no tiny gesture, no fleeting thought. A lot happens in the lives of these young characters, and a lesser novelist would still have a good book on their hands. But what makes these books really great is how Elena, the protagonist, returns to certain events, turning them over in her mind, wringing every bit of meaning out of them, then imbuing them with new meaning as her perspective grows and changes, or as she learns the motives of other characters. I am in absolute awe of this aspect of her writing.

Another thing that makes these books stand out, of course, is the anger and other "negative" emotions of the female characters. Many have commented on this, particularly the rage, but what I also love is how explicitly she talks about jealousy and even some emotions I'm not sure how to name. For instance, (view spoiler) This is what makes the novels great -- the way Ferrante never turns away from these kinds of shameful feelings everyone has but no one admits to; not only does she refuse to look away, but she seeks them out, exposes them, exploits them.

Needless to say, I will keep reading!
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Reading Progress

January 25, 2015 – Shelved
January 25, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 2, 2016 – Started Reading
February 11, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Lowry (new)

Lowry Yes, one of the great things about these books is that the people in them are not nice. Niceness plays no part in how they live their lives. They make some novels look namby-pamby by comparison.

Also, it's incredible to me that some people have theorized that a man, or even a committee of men, wrote these books. Absolutely no way a man wrote this. Impossible. And I should know because I've written a good amount of fiction with a female narrator or protagonist. I think I can pull that off -- but what Ferrante does? No way!


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