“The Story of a New Name” Elena Ferrante- book review


As promised, here is my review of the book “Storia del Nuovo Cognome” Elena Ferrante, the second volume of the Neapolitan saga.

Something off the topic, my room is a complete mess and this is no news at all for some of you who know me a little bit. Looks like, I can’t function that well in this chaos, books everywhere, clothes scattered on every possible piece of furniture, accessories, make up, make up brushes (on my defense they are freshly cleansed :D, yay \oo/) and despite my room’s rumble, my laziness and irresistible desire to procrastinate, here I am, in front of my laptop trying to do my best.

So back to the book. I was looking forward to read it and after reading it, I now look forward to read the third. It starts right where it left the first one, but the girls’ lives take a wild turn, specially Lina’s, now married to Stefano Caracci, thus becoming Mrs. Caracci (hint to the book’s title) something she deeply despises and the sound of it, makes her cringe with disgust. Her last name might be different, a brand new one, but she’s still the crazy, stubborn, independent girl she used to be. I must admit that, despite her life becoming an unbearable hell, she still keeps going on with her flame burning hot. She never, even for once surrendered to her fate. That’s something to worship and envy at the same time. Unfortunately it’s not something you can learn at school or through books, this is something you are born with. This is how, life energy works or vibrates into someone, I suppose. It vibrates in different wave lengths inside of everyone, that was Lina’s wave. Colorful, vibrant, sharp, fast, crazy, unstable that’s why it was so visible and so contagious. The very reason why no one could ever resist her. Her strength but also her curse.

While Elena, still stuck in her best friend’s shadow, trying to get out, trying to breathe, trying to stand out with a personality she clearly doesn’t have. Her internal battles and insecurities are darker, fiercer compared to her childhood struggles to keep up with Lina.

While Elena, is clearly living an identity crisis, trying desperately to find her place in the neighborhood, she also yearns to become someone else, someone sophisticated, classy who someday proudly will stand out and above the filthy fray of her past. Yet, she is so attached, no matter how much she tries, no matter how hard she works, how devoted she is in her studies or even how successful and respected she might get in her own circle, she can’t help it, but still craves for Lina’s acknowledgment and recognition. If Lina doesn’t know, then nothing matters. Lina needs to know, how far she has gone, how cool she is, otherwise every attempt would be pointless. Deep inside she knows, no matter her achievements, Lina is always one step ahead. That’s how it has always been, this is how things are.

I feel kind of sorry for her. She is weak and she knows it. It’s not Lina’s strength that hurts her the most. It’s her clumsiness to grab her life and be someone of her own. She is not just weak, she is powerless towards her weakness. She feels that if it wasn’t for Lina, she wouldn’t be able to exist. How could she ever exist? There would be no valid reason. Elena exists, through others’ needs and desires, Lina’s, Nino’s, Galiani’s etc…

Ferrante is so freaking good in showing every possible shade of human feelings even the darkest corners of one’s mind, even the spots one wants to hide. Displaying inner fears has never been an effort. A splash of light into the hurtful truths is silent and comes painfully natural to her. (I can’t believe I managed to write a sentence such as the one above, ooohhhh so poetic of me… :D)

Lina’s not the only one making Elena suffer though, if we want to put it that way. Nino Sarratore is the boy who broke her heart… I am not going to give any more details. You will have to find out yourselves.

The thing is, that probably the story itself might not be an extraordinary as in terms of occurrences, they are somewhat normal. Ferrante, is always emphasizing this exact fact. (Or at least that’s how I see it)

However, Ferrante’s writing style is blunt and brazen but don’t get me wrong it never gets trashy or vulgar. No no no! Absolutely NOT! It perfectly mirrors the hostile lifestyle, the character boldness, making them real living creatures. That’s why the book flows, it captivated me in its cyclone and I couldn’t stop until I was done reading, with nothing left. Just a bitter-sweet taste of emptiness, as all the specter of emotions has been already drained out of me.

I guess, the reader can easily recognize him/herself in it, in different characters, in different moments, or recognize others in what’s been described. That’s the beauty of it, you can always relate.

Last thing, I read that, it doesn’t matter if you have read the first book, you can read the second independently. Hhmmm, I disagree. Not that the second doesn’t make sense in stand alone, but it’s not complete. It’s meant to be the second part. How are you to enjoy and fully understand the events, character evolution and development if you skip part one? I highly recommend reading the first (my review here) and get the second book after.

It had been long since I read a novel. I am not really into novels lately, as I am just interested in other genres and other types of book reading. However I treasure, a good read and this one was definitely an amazing one.

Excerpt of the book (in Albanian; publishing House Pegi)

If you have read it, comment below and let me know what you think.

If you want to read it and want to ask questions, below go for it.

xoxo #kristinakoti


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