Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

imageI consider David Copperfield to be a great book, one of many  masterpieces by Charles Dickens.  It’s a long book, a very long book, telling nearly the entire life story of its narrator and title character.

People may prefer different sections of David Copperfield over other parts of the book, the bits with Francis Micawber are the best parts by the way, but you can’t really judge the book as anything other than one work.  You don’t have four opinions, one per quarter;  you have one opinion.

I think that’s the best way to read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. They have been broken down into four separate books but they are really one novel.  The cast of characters introduced in the first book has not grown much by the end of book three, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.  The issues the main characters face are still basically the same, the conflicts introduced in childhood continue to haunt the imagenarrator’s life in book three.  This is a life story; life goes on.

I’ve finished reading book three and plan on completing the series sometime this summer or in the early fall.  I feel like I should just post a link to my earlier reviews, or maybe invite you to come back later when I’m done with all four and can try to make sense of them in a more complete way.

Until then I can say that I’m still loving the books, enthralled by the characters, hoping they can work things out somehow.  I’ve no idea how all of this will end and I’m not exactly looking forward to it.  When you spend this much time with a character, it can be hard to say goodbye.

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. This is one set of books I feel I’m really missing out on. May ask for them for a Christmas present!

  2. You can always ask, but I’m keeping my copies, sorry. I’ll be reading them again some day.

  3. RareBird says:

    I look forward to seeing your wrap up review after you read the fourth book. I have just finished the second book and am absolutely gobsmacked by them so far. Too bad I got my copies from the library! I am going to have to change that….

  4. I stopped after the first two books. I should continue the read

  5. BookerTalk says:

    I’ve been reluctant to start on these not being certain I would be that engaged by the characters to want to spend as much time in their company. But thats just being foolish I suppose since how will I know until I get introduced?

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