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The Story of the Lost Child
Cover of The Story of the Lost Child
The Story of the Lost Child
Neapolitan Series, Book 4
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"Nothing quite like this has ever been published before," proclaimed the Guardian about the Neapolitan Novels in 2014. The first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was a New York Times bestseller. Book three was a Times bestseller and a Notable Book of the Year. It was named a best book of 2014 twenty-five times, including in the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, the Daily Beast, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and the Boston Globe. This final installment in the series gives validation to the New York Times Book Review's opinion of its author, Elena Ferrante, as "one of the great novelists of our time."

Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; many of life's great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women's friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received novels. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Nearness to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, and unforgettable.

Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long, remarkable story that listeners will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.

"Nothing quite like this has ever been published before," proclaimed the Guardian about the Neapolitan Novels in 2014. The first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was a New York Times bestseller. Book three was a Times bestseller and a Notable Book of the Year. It was named a best book of 2014 twenty-five times, including in the Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, the Daily Beast, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and the Boston Globe. This final installment in the series gives validation to the New York Times Book Review's opinion of its author, Elena Ferrante, as "one of the great novelists of our time."

Here is the dazzling saga of two women: the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila. Both are now adults; many of life's great discoveries have been made, its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women's friendship has remained the gravitational center of their lives. Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up—a prison of conformity, violence, and inviolable taboos. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received novels. In this final book, she has returned to Naples. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from the city of her birth. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity to the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Nearness to the world she has always rejected only brings her role as its unacknowledged leader into relief. For Lila is unstoppable, unmanageable, and unforgettable.

Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, the story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty and brilliance. The four volumes in this series constitute a long, remarkable story that listeners will return to again and again, and every return will bring with it new revelations.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Elena Ferrante, author of The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and My Brilliant Friend, among others, is one of Italy's most important and acclaimed contemporary writers. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2016 by Time.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 1, 2015
    In Ferrante's fourth and final Neapolitan novel, she reunites Elena, the accomplished writer, with Lila, the indomitable spirit, in their Southern Italian city as they confront maturity and old age, death, and the meaning of life. The two friends face the chaos of a corrupt and decaying Naples while the lives of the people closest to them—plagued by abandonment, imprisonment, murder, and betrayal—spiral out of control. "Where is it written that lives should have a meaning?" Lila asks Elena, disparaging her friend's career choice in the process. Readers will need the accompanying index of characters to keep track as Ferrante resolves the themes and events from earlier titles (My Brilliant Friend; The Story of a New Name; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay) with a force and ferocity recalling the devastating earthquake of 1980 and Vesuvius's volcanic eruptions, which themselves provide the unsettling background to the narrative. Ferrante's precise foreshadowing is such that an early incident of a lost doll in book one mirrors the lost child in book four right down to their shared first name—and "The Blue Fairy," the story Lila scribbled in a childhood notebook that Elena threw in the Arno, resurfaces in this installment's final pages. Throughout, there's the sense of the circle completing: near the end, Elena pens a short novel entitled "A Friendship" (a metafictional nod to Ferrante's series as a whole), inspired by her half-century relationship with Lila. The novel is Elena's final work and permanently ties Elena and Lila together, for better and worse. This stunning conclusion further solidifies the Neapolitan novels as Ferrante's masterpiece and guarantees that this reclusive author will remain far from obscure for years to come.

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The Story of the Lost Child
The Story of the Lost Child
Neapolitan Series, Book 4
Elena Ferrante
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