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Read Anything by Elena Ferrante


Summer reading advice: Read anything by Elena Ferrante.

Last year my world changed when I came across the work of Elena Ferrante. I’m a lifelong bookworm and obsessed with Italian art, food, literature and culture. My love of Italy comes through in my artwork and art projects.

Once I found out about Elena Ferrante, I quickly devoured all the English books I could fine by her. Below is information on Elena Ferrante, her books, and why I love her work and think you should read anything by Elena Ferrante.

Because friends and collectors know I’m a huge reader, they always ask for my book recommendations. In summertime you find lots of great book recommendations so I decided now is a great time to start. I plan to post more book recommendations in the future. If you want to stay informed, click here to get my book recommendations and art news updates.

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Who is Elena Ferrante?

“I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors.” – Elena Ferrante, via Women on the Verge; The fiction of Elena Ferrante by James Wood in The New Yorker



In case you’ve never heard of her (and I hadn’t until last year), Elena Ferrante is a pen name. There’s lots of speculation about who she (or he) actually is but no one knows for sure. In rare interiews Elena Ferrante states it’s obvious that she’s female from her writing and topics covered. The Italian press has spread rumours that she may be male (see her responses in the interview links below).


“Naples is my city, the city where I learned quickly, before I was 20, the best and worst of Italy and the world.” – Elena Ferrante, 2014, ‘Writing Has Always Been a Great Struggle for Me’; Q. and A.: Elena Ferrante in the New York Times


What seems obvious is that Elena Ferrante is Italian and her books come out first in Italian. Elena Ferrante spent her early life in Naples, Italy and studied Classics. She insists on remaining anonymous and doesn’t promote her books or do any readings. Only a very few interviews have appeared:


Until recently there was no website for Elena Ferrante but it looks like Eurpoa Editions set up an English website for her.

“Words: with them you can do and undo as you please.” – Elena Ferrante (Story of a New Name)



Elena Ferrante’s Books



Elena Ferrante writes fiction, many are set in Naples and all take place in Italy. The books all focus on the stories of women who are usually from Naples, like Elena Ferrante herself. The stories contain violence and extreme emotions. The writing is beautiful and the story lines capture me from the beginning through to the end of the books.


The Days of AbandonmentTroubling Love, and The Lost Daughter are short novels. The Neopolitan Novels are four books that tell the story of two women from Naples who take very different paths in life. The fourth and final book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels comes out in English this fall: The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four


If you’re new to Elena Ferrante, I suggest starting with My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One or The Days of Abandonment. Here are Elena Ferrante’s Books currently available in English*:

Two of Elena Ferrante’s books have been made into Italian films:

I haven’t watched either film but am eager to get ahold of both.


Upcoming Books from Elena Ferrante


Two new books are coming out soon from Elena Ferrante: the fourth book in the Neopolitan Novels The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four and a new collection of “occasional writings, interviews, and letters” titled Fragments: On Writing, Reading, and Absence. I can’t wait to read both of these upcoming books!

From the description Fragments: On Writing, Reading, and Absence will address Elena Ferrante’s views on the role of author today, Italian culture and politics, and why she choses to remain anonymous. Both books come out first in Italian. Not for the first time, I wish my Italian were strong enough to read full books in the original Italian.


Thanks to Laura Fraser

I’m very grateful to Laura Fraser, the author of non-fiction books I’ll feature in upcoming book recommendation blog post (stay tuned). I found out about Elena Ferrante through Laura Fraser’s book recommendation posts, which I highly recommend you check out for more great book recommendations.

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Related Information on Elena Ferrante:

* I may earn a small affiliate commission if you purchase through the links in this post. If you enjoyed this article and my book recommendations, please purchase Elena Ferrante’s books using the links here.