If you count yourself among the many feverish readers of Elena Ferrante’s novels, then you’ve probably been haunted by one single question since you finished the third book in the Neapolitan series: When is Elena Ferrante’s new book coming out? Well, never fear, you’ll be getting your Ferrante fix soon. The English translation of The Story of the Lost Child will finally hit shelves (and probably immediately fly off the shelves) on September 1.
The fourth and final novel in Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels series, The Story of the Lost Child brings protagonists Elena and Lila back together again in Naples, this time as adults. Their epic friendship, which has roller coaster-ed through the previous three novels, has tied their lives inextricably together, and The Story of the Lost Child offers up new challenges and revelations for Lila and Lenù's friendship. As described on Amazon, “Lila and Elena clash, drift apart, reconcile, and clash again, in the process revealing new facets of their friendship.”
The literary world is already preparing for the excitement of the book's release on September . Ferrante’s publisher Europa Editions has been counting down the days to the release date with the hashtag #FerranteFever, releasing character lists on Facebook and Twitter.
And apparently, you’ll be needing those character lists. According to Publisher’s Weekly, “readers will need the accompanying index of characters to keep track as Ferrante resolves the themes and events from earlier titles.”
Ferrante’s publisher isn’t the only one getting antsy for the book’s release. Community Bookstore in Brooklyn has their own countdown going:
Slate is hosting their very own “Ferrante Fest” in honor of the book’s release. And literary publications are already praising the novel. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly wrote that the book “further solidifies the Neapolitan novels as Ferrante's masterpiece and guarantees that this reclusive author will remain far from obscure for years to come.” Kirkus Reviews, however, saw some shortcomings in the treatment of this final installment:
While avid devotees of the Neapolitan series will be gratified by the return of several characters from earlier installments, the need to cover ground in the final volume results in a telescoped delivery of some plot points.
Shortcomings or no, The Story of the Lost Child is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit. Ferrante’s popularity has grown steadily since the publication of the first novel in the series, My Brilliant Friend, and even boasts famous fans like Gwyneth Paltrow, who wrote an endorsement for the series. Ferrante’s work has garnered popularity particularly with women readers. Meghan O’Rourke at The Guardian wrote, “partly because her work describes domestic experiences — such as vivid sexual jealousy and other forms of shame — that are underexplored in fiction, Ferrante’s reputation is soaring, especially among women (Zadie Smith, Mona Simpson and Jhumpa Lahiri are fans).”
Or as Jia Tolentino at Jezebel wrote of Ferrante's depiction of women in her novels, “she turns 'the' female experience into a female experience, which turns into a human experience, full stop.”
Maybe you’re full-on struck with Ferrante Fever, or maybe you’re just curious about this anonymous phenom from Italy. Either way, there's no doubting the widespread love for Ferrante's novels is proof enough that they're filling a gap in literature's depictions of women. So, get ready for the rush at the bookstores on September 1 as The Story of the Lost Child brings a unique, epic story of female friendship to a close.