Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Book - 2014
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Since the publication of My Brilliant Friend, the first of the Neapolitan novels, Elena Ferrante's fame as one of our most compelling, insightful, and stylish contemporary authors has grown enormously. She has gained admirers among authors--Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Strout, Claire Messud, to name a few--and critics--James Wood, John Freeman, Eugenia Williamson, for example. But her most resounding success has undoubtedly been with readers, who have discovered in Ferrante a writer who speaks with great power and beauty of the mysteries of belonging, human relationships, love, family, and friendship. In this third Neapolitan novel, Elena and Lila, the two girls whom readers first met in My Brilliant Friend, have become women. Lila married at sixteen and has a young son; she has left her husband and the comforts of 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 mystery, ignorance and submission. They are afloat on the great sea of opportunities that opened up during the nineteen-seventies. Yet they are still very much bound to see each other by a strong, unbreakable bond.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Europa Editions,, 2014.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781609452339
Branch Call Number: FIC FERR
Characteristics: 418 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-- Translator


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Feb 25, 2021

First Third and Fourth novels in this series are available. Why not the second.?

Jan 02, 2021

Book 3

VaughanPLTiziana Jul 26, 2019

This is the third novel in the Neapolitan quartet by the elusive Italian author, Elena Ferrante (elusive because her identity remains a mystery). Although there are 4 books in the series, Ferrante considers it to be “a single novel”. The series is characterized as a coming-of-age story and recounts the complicated friendship between the main character, Elena Greco, and Lila Cerullo, who became childhood friends in a poor neighbourhood in Naples, Italy during the 1950s (see Book 1: My Brilliant Friend). This third book continues their story as Elena, now in her 60s, recounts memories from her and Lila's life during adulthood, such as her milestones of marriage, pregnancy, and the birth of her children, all amidst the turbulence of political and social unrest in Italy.

Feb 28, 2019

Turbulent times. I looked up Italy in the late 60s-mid70s to find that it was a time of violence & unrest. On top of that, this is the time of feminism, awakenings, the pill, soul-searching for truth, individuality, focus.
Elena Ferrante captured all of this while continuing the story of Elena and Lila.
The women struggle with their roles as mothers, women, wives, caretakers. They struggle with the balance of careers, economics, husbands vs their selves.
This story is rich in detail and the unrest of a turbulent society, the finding of self, the balance of home & individuality.

Dec 31, 2018

As a third book in the series , it didn't disappoint. With a little bit less intensity than second, it still keeps you intrigued and in shock with many unpredicting developments. Lila and Elena are again on opposite ends of life spectrum. Both of them will go through the same loops in life, just at different times. Time and era are described just enough to make you start checking history facts immediately. Well done!

Sep 29, 2018

Want to finish this wonderful series before the HBO production begins.

jr3083 Mar 14, 2018

This is a four-part story, released at one volume each year between 2012 and 2015. Set in a poverty-stricken section of Naples in the 1950s, it is the story of a friendship between two women, Elena and Lina.
At times I found myself wondering whether anything really happened in these books. Is the whole thing just a souped-up soap opera, I wondered? But occasionally, I'd just sit bank and think- Yep, this woman sure can write. There's a huge scope of time encompassed in these books. The plotting of the series of books is masterful, clearly planned in its entirety from the opening pages of Book 1 which tie in so neatly with the closing pages of Book 4. This isn't a saga with one book added after another once they began to sell well: no, it's a complete whole, conceived as a unity from the start. It was always a little difficult to start each volume after a break, but about half way through each one , she'd put her foot to the metal and it was unputdownable.

I have loved these books. They capture so well the ambiguities of a close friendship, and they mark the passing of time and the 20th century development of Naples, with the chains of past family enmities and the allure of modernity. I flipped through the advertisements for Ferrante's other books at the back of the volume. No, I don't want to read any more. They sound too much the same. This was just perfect, just as it is.

For my complete review, see

kslavik Apr 29, 2017

Addicting read! This is a fascinating psychological study of a cast of characters from a female perspective.

Mar 18, 2017

This series is one of my favorites...each one is brilliant. But this book was a mind-blower. There were several scenes in it that I will never forget.

The realistic portrayal of women's lifelong relationships with each other is revealing and brutal. A lot can be learned about the stalling or failures of feminism observing the relationships in these books.

Mar 13, 2017

This is not what I would call a friendship. It is a dysfunctional relationship - a rivalry of sorts - that does not help either woman in her life. Really didn't like these books. Though I read all four to see if they would redeem themselves in the end.
The most interesting part of the story was the portrayal of poverty in Naples in the 1950s. The relationships were really unhealthy and depressing.

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Mar 28, 2017

The day will come when I reduce myself to diagrams, I'll become a perforated tape and you won't find me anymore.


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