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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Story of a New Name

The Story of a New Name” is the second part of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan trilogy that began with “My Brilliant Friend.” I was not as enamoured with the first novel as many seemed to be and it has taken me months to struggle through the second. Lila and Lenu have competed with each other since childhood and their relationship is very complicated. Lila has married Stefano, a wealthy grocer who she does not love. Lenu has been in love with Nino Sarratore since childhood. I finally became engaged with the novel when Lenu, upon learning that  Lila has become sexually involved with Nino, allows Nino’s father, Donato, to take her virginity. Lenu then distances herself from Lila and destroys the notebooks Lila has given her. She now feels free to pursue her educational pursuits without the ties to the neighbourhood that have been holding her back. She writes a novel about her experience with Donato; the mother of her fiancee reads it and finds a publisher. Lenu's life is taking off but she feels the need to meet with Lila who is now a single mother who has left her husband and is living in a platonic relationship with a childhood friend who loves her. She is poor and is working at a miserable job to make ends meet. Lenu now has the upper hand but gets no satisfaction from it. What will happen next? Nino Sarratore will definitely play a part and I want to read on. Hopefully I'll be able to make my way through the third novel in less time.

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