It has taken me a while but here I am at the end of the Ferrante tetralogy.
With so much hype and frenzy surrounding the series and author, it was hard to come to these books with a fresh approach or low expectations.
My feelings and reactions have been complicated and mixed up to say the least. I was reluctant to get started and then reluctant to confess my lack of any amazeballs reaction.
I certainly don’t hate the series either or think that it doesn’t have any virtues. It just lacked something. A little something, that I haven’t been able to work out yet.
I felt admiration for the writer and translator and fascination about the history and socio-cultural constructs. I also felt incredibly frustrated and annoyed at most of the characters, most of the time.
So much so, that I thought I would never actually read The Story of the Lost Child.
But at the recent Sydney Writer’s Festival, I attended an event that discussed the Ferrante phenomenon. The exciting buzz from the event was enough to convince me that it was time to finally finish this series off.
And I’m glad I did.
Despite my misgivings at different times along the way, we finally see some personal growth and understanding from the main character, Elena.
The tension throughout this book as we wait to find out who the lost child is nearly unbearable. It’s almost a relief when it finally happens.
I felt very connected to Dede by the end of the book. Her adult relationship with her mother was something that I understood and I finally had that little a-ha moment about why I had struggled with Elena all the way along.
Ferrante has created memorable characters who came to life thanks to the intimate details that she revealed about them along the way.
This series is entertaining and even ambitious, but, to my mind it’s not a masterpiece.
Like Ferrante’s characters, the books have issues and problems. But perhaps it is these very issues and problems that draw so many people in. Seeing the awkwardness, the rawness and the messiness of life reflected back at us via art can be very alluring and hypnotising – rather like watching a train wreck perhaps!
Where do you fall on the continuum of Ferrante fever?