Illustrations by Andrea Ucini
“This is my last column, after a year that has scared and inspired me.”
With these words, Elena Ferrante, the bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend, bid farewell to her year-long collaboration with the Guardian. For a full year she penned short pieces, the subjects of which had been suggested by Guardian editors, making the writing process a sort of prolonged interlocution. The subjects ranged from first love to climate change, from enmity among women to the adaptation of her novels to film and TV. As she said in her final column: “I have written as an author of novels, taking on matters that are important to me and that—if I have the will and the time—I’d like to develop within real narrative mechanisms.”
Here, then, are the seeds of possible future novels, the ruminations of an internationally beloved author, and the abiding preoccupations of a writer who has been called “one of the great novelists of our time” (New York Times).
Gathered here in a beautiful gift edition and accompanied by a new, original introduction by the author and Andrea Ucini’s intelligent, witty, and beautiful illustrations, this is a must for all Ferrante fans.
Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), now a film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, and Jessie Buckley. She is also the author of Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019), illustrated by Andrea Ucini; Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016); and a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016). The four volumes known as the “Neapolitan novels” (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) were published by Europa Editions in English between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018. The adaptation of Ferrante’s most recent novel, The Lying Life of Adults (Europa, 2020), debuted on Netflix in 2023.