The Story of a New Name follows Elena Ferrante's critically acclaimed My Brilliant Friend, featuring Lila and Elena. The two protagonists are now in their 20s, and marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila. Meanwhile Elena continues her journey of self-discovery.
These young women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times while driving them apart at others. Each vacillates between hurtful disregard and profound love for the other. With this complicated and meticulously portrayed friendship at the center of their emotional lives, the two girls mature into women, paying the sometimes cruel price that this passage exacts.
©2012 Edizioni E/O. Translation © 2013 by Europa Editions (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Amazing story of friendship, hardship, lovers won and lovers lost, all with the underpinning of how education weaves its way through one life and not the other. Ready to start book three.
I'm not sure. Perhaps those who don't get involved in the story as much.
No, I don't think so.
I really enjoyed the first book. I found this one slow and I had difficulty inhibiting the revulsion I felt for all the characters. There was nothing left to become involved in the story.I could not identify with anyone or any action. It all seemed so contradictory and trivial.
After reading some of the negative reviews I couldn't believe that this author could produce anything other than another brilliant novel . Fortunately I was proved correct. The second of a quartet this book continues the story of Lena and Linu. The depiction of the individual personalities of the two women, their lives, lusts, goals and actions are mesmerizing . The author's language is beautiful and the narrator is unsurpassed.
This book will suck you in, pull you down, wind you up. It's sad and fascinating and frustrating but incredibly engaging. I feel like I know each character personally, like I live and grew up there. The narrator builds the feeling and characters with just the slightest change in her tone. I'm intrigued to continue on in the series.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
"Whenever this world is cruel to me
I got you to help me forgive
Ooh you make me live now honey
Ooh you make me live."
You're My Best Friend, Queen, 1975
This is the second of a tetralogy called the "Neopolitan Novels," by the Italian novelist Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym). Ms. Ferrante says she considers the four volumes to constitute one novel. In Italy, the books are so popular that the periodical publications have regularly engaged in a game of speculation on the author's true identity.
The books center on the lives and friendship of two girls from Naples, Italy, Elena Greco (called sometimes "Lenù") and Raffaella ("Lila") Cerullo. Both are intelligent and precocious young students in the first book called My Brilliant Friend, which takes them up to 16 years old. This one, The Story of a New Name carries them to their mid-20s. Elena is the narrator, but it's truly about both of them, and all that relationship entails through the years, including intellectual and sexual competition and envy, and support for each other as they attempt to rise above their poor, vulgar and sometimes violent neighborhood on the Naples outskirts.
In some ways, Ms. Ferrante's writing reminds me of that by the Norwegian Karl Ove Knaussgard in his six-volume My Struggle, so conversational and existential without being overly gloomy. I can't pin down exactly why but I find these books absolutely absorbing and fascinating. I want to keep reading... and reading.... It's like a dip into the soul of the authors, their daily lives, and the intriguing neighborhood interrelationships, friendships, as the authors call you forth, in examining their own lives, to examine yours, your childhood, childhood friends, being an adult, growing older, how sad things turn out for many who could not escape their surroundings, your recollections of certain things but haziness on others, the meaning of art and lit in life and to a full life, the meaning of your upbringing in your life, the ways you are like and differ from your parents when you become a parent, the place you grew up, how it felt to be isolated, in love with someone, to lose them to another, in lust, puppy love, your first sexual encounter, how you felt upon seeing someone again or for the first time in years and years. The Neopolitan novels are full of good and evil and eccentric characters.
I found the first novel a little tedious at times because it mostly involved elementary age kids. Unlike the Karl Ove novels, it is necessary to read these in order. For this second one, I was all in, finding it simply jaw-dropping at times. I'm already halfway through the 3d now, I've enjoyed them so much.
As long as I have my Audible, I'm content.
This book continues the story of the friendship between Elena and Lila. It shows how their relationship diverges and becomes strained as Elena continues her education and Lila gets married. I still can't really understand why Elena is so taken with Lila. She talks about how special Lila is, at one point calling her a fallen divinity, but from everything I hear, she's really just a selfish little brat who makes poor choices, seemingly purposefully, and then goes out of her way to hurt and humiliate Elena. Elena finally starts to grow into herself a bit and actually turns into a bit of a firecracker, which made me laugh a few times and think, "Yes! Go Elena!" I'm still not as enamored with the series as many of the other reviewers on Amazon are, but there are some beautiful passages, and enough character development that I want to know how their lives develop, so I will continue on to the third book eventually.
Vol. II continues its preceding book -which held my interest till the end- in the same vein and at the same pace, like on the next day. A change of pace would have made it less predictable and boring.
No, but I will be careful in buying a volume II or III unless I'm totally enthralled - especially at the price of audio-books.
I find her voice monotonous, unable to modulate according to different characters or even to express emotions in any of the characters. She's trying too hard to pronounce Italian names correctly, making it sound stilted, failing with simple names like Michele or Garibaldi.
The monotonous interaction in the main characters' dialogues: Same exchange of words.Repetition of short sentences like "She and I - I and she" . Cut the self-deprecating questioning inner monologues of Lenu shorter. Lose the over frequent "She said in dialect/Italian".
I stopped listening after chapter 79. I bought vol III at the same time as Vol II because it was at half price. I won't waste my time on it. I wouldn't mind so much if it had been a Kindle book at $2.99!
"Love love love"
All absorbing . Going straight to next book in the series can't,t get enough.thanks f
Brilliant read. I can't wait to start the next book in this trilogy. Highly recommended.
"An Amazing Quartet"
I love these books. I came to them reluctantly, hating to follow the crowd, but I would, and frequently do, wholeheartedly recommend them to friends. The writing is wonderful without being self-conscious.
These are truly wonderful books. Weeks after reading them I am still in that Neapolitan neighbourhood, surrounded by squalor and violence to witness the palpable yearning of two little girls whose ambitions could not be contained within its boundaries.
It's beyond me how a professional narrator could be this terrible. Strangely, when she is acting the roles of the characters she comes alive but when she speaks the internal monologue of the main character she sounds like a drone. It's so bad it's funny sometimes.
Highly suggest listening to a sample before buying!!
Just finish book 2 in the series
Unable to rate the book until book 3
"So Beautiful, So Alive"
It was so good that I listened to book 2 straight after book 1. I could not wait to hear what happened next! There is so much insight into the thoughts and intentions of childhood and the deep connection between friends with all of the intricacies and pitfalls involved. The narrator is a joy to listen to. She creates the atmosphere brilliantly with just the right tone. I am going straight to book 3 now!
"Mediocre story, quite depressing to listen to!"
I have persevered with the novels of this series but I have to say I'm not really enjoying them - firstly the narration I feel is terrible - maybe as I am used to listening to English, rather than American narrators, but this woman sounds like a computer and it's really difficult to listen to! Story is quite realistic but sad and it lost me at several points because there is no real gripping story to keep you going.
"Great story, shame about the narration"
Continuing the story begun in My Brilliant Friend, explores the tensions in a friendship which result from different life choices
This book doesn't need to be listened to in one sitting; it explores the evolution of a friendship and can be enjoyed in many small "doses"
The American narrator is an irritation, and mangles the English language. Occasionally the translation is incorrect, but the drawling southern US accent, and Americanisms such as "dove" instead of "dived" do unfortunately detract from an excellent book.
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