Elena Ferrante books in order
Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of an Italian author of literary fiction, children's books and non-fiction novels.
Born in Naples, she is best known for writing the Neapolitan Series (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) which was later published in the US by Europa. The first book in the series was even adapted into a HBO series by the same name, directed by Saverio Costanzo.
Other novels by the author that have been adapted into motion pictures include: The Days of Abandonment (directed by Roberto Faenza); Troubling Love (directed by Mario Martone); and The Lost Daughter (set to be adapted soon and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal).
A household name in Italy way before her books received global acclamation, Elena Ferrante has managed to keep her real identity a secret, overcoming numerous speculations and theories over the decades.
Named in the 100 most influential people in 2016, the real identity of Elena Ferrante remains a well guarded secret.
Genres: Children's Book, Literary Fiction, Non-fiction
Pseudonym: Elena Ferrante
- The Days of Abandonment - I giorni dell'abbandono (2002)
- Troubling Love - L'amore molesto (2006)
- The Lost Daughter - La figlia oscura (2006)
- The Lying Life of Adults - La vita bugiarda degli adulti (2019)
- My Brilliant Friend - L'amica geniale (2011)
- The Story of a New Name - Storia del nuovo cognome (2012)
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay - Storia di chi fugge e di chi resta (2014)
- The Story of the Lost Child - Storia della bambina perduta (2014)
- Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey - La Frantumaglia (2003)
- Incidental Inventions - L'invenzione occasionale (2019)
- In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing - I margini e il dettato (2022)
- Delia's Elevator (2004)
- The Beach at Night - La spiaggia di notte (2007)
Detailed book overview
This is the gripping story of a woman's descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.
Following her mother’s untimely and unexplained drowning, which was preceded by a series of strange phone calls, forty-five-year-old Delia leaves Rome and embarks on a voyage of discovery through the beguiling yet often hostile streets of her native Naples. She is searching for the truth about her family and the men in her mother’s life, past and present, including an abusive husband.
What she discovers will be more unsettling than she imagines, but will also reveal truths about herself...
Director: Mario Martone
Cast: Anna Bonaiuto, Angela Luce, Gianni Cajafa, Peppe Lanzetta, Licia Maglietta, Anna Calato, Italo Celoro, Carmela Pecoraro, Giovanni Viglietti
Leda, a middle-aged divorcée, is alone for the first time in years after her two adult daughters leave home to live with their father in Toronto. Enjoying an unexpected sense of liberty, she heads to the Ionian coast for a vacation. But she soon finds herself intrigued by Nina, a young mother on the beach, eventually striking up a conversation with her. After Nina confides a dark secret, one seemingly trivial occurrence leads to events that could destroy Nina’s family...
Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Cast: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Domińczyk, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris
Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.
Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.
Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Elena Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its main characters, the fiery and unforgettable Lila and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship. This first novel in the series follows Lila and Elena from their fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.
Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between two women.
Director: Saverio Costanzo, Daniele Luchetti, Alice Rohrwacher
Cast: Margherita Mazzucco, Gaia Girace, Annarita Vitolo, Alessio Gallo, Luca Gallone, Francesco Serpico, Giovanni Amura
Lila has recently married and made her entrée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and a source of strength in the face of life’s challenges.
Elena and Lila have grown into womanhood. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts her marriage brought and now works as a common laborer.
Elena has left the neighborhood, earned her college degree, and published a successful novel, all of which has opened the doors to a world of learned interlocutors and richly furnished salons.
Both women are pushing against the walls of a prison that would have seen them living a life of misery, ignorance, and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up for women during the 1970s.
The Story of the Lost Child concludes the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila, who first met amid the shambles of postwar Italy. In this book, life’s great discoveries have been made; its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship remains the gravitational center of their lives.
Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. But now, she has returned to Naples to be with the man she has always loved.
Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from Naples. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood.
Yet, somehow, this proximity to a world she has always rejected only brings her role as unacknowledged leader of that world into relief.
Consisting of over twenty years of letters, essays, reflections, and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.
In these pages, Ferrante answers many of her readers’ questions. She addresses her choice to stand aside and let her books live autonomous lives. She discusses her thoughts and concerns as her novels are being adapted into films.
She talks about the challenge of finding concise answers to interview questions. She explains the joys and the struggles of writing, the anguish of composing a story only to discover that that story isn’t good enough.
She contemplates her relationship with psychoanalysis, with the cities she has lived in, with motherhood, with feminism, and with her childhood as a storehouse for memories, impressions, and fantasies. The result is a vibrant and intimate self-portrait of a writer at work.
“This is my last column, after a year that has scared and inspired me...I have written as an author of novels, taking on matters that are important to me and that—if I have the will and the time—I’d like to develop within real narrative mechanisms.”
With these words, Elena Ferrante bid farewell to her year-long collaboration with the Guardian newspaper. For a full year, she wrote weekly articles, the subjects of which had been suggested by Guardian editors, making the writing process a sort of prolonged interlocution.
The subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the experience of seeing her novels adapted for film and TV.
In these four crisp essays, Ferrante offers a rare look into the origins of her literary prowess. She describes her influences, her struggles, and her formation as both a reader and a writer; she warns against the perils of “bad language” and the ways in which it has long excluded women’s truth; she proposes a choral fusion of feminine talent as she brilliantly discourses on the work of Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Ingeborg Bachmann, and many others.
Readers of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter may recall the little doll—lost or stolen—around which that novel revolves. Here, Ferrante retells the tale from the doll’s perspective.
Celina is having a terrible night, one full of jealousy for the new kitten, Minù; feelings of abandonment and sadness; misadventures at the hands of the beach attendant; and dark dreams. But she will be happily found by Mati, her child, once the sun rises...