Leda is a middle-aged divorcee devoted to her work as an English teacher and to her two children. When her daughters leave home to be with their father in Canada, Leda anticipates a period of loneliness and longing.Read more...
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Leda is a middle-aged divorcee devoted to her work as an English teacher and to her two children. When her daughters leave home to be with their father in Canada, Leda anticipates a period of loneliness and longing. Instead, slightly embarassed by the sensation, she feels liberated, as if her life has become lighter, easier. She decides to take a holiday by the sea, in a small coastal town in southern Italy. But after a few days of calm and quiet, things begin to take a menacing turn. Leda encounters a family whose brash presence proves unsettling, at times even threatening. When a small, seemingly meaningless, event occurs, Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult and unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family. The apparently serene tale of a woman's pleasant rediscovery of herself soon becomes the story of a ferocious confrontation with an unsettled past.
Following the extraordinary success of The Days of Abandonment, Elena Ferrante's standalone novel The Lost Daughter candidly explores the conflicting emotions that tie us to our children.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2008-03-10
- Reviewer: Staff
The arresting third novel from pseudonymous Italian novelist Ferrante (Troubling Love) pursues a divorced, 47-year-old academic’s deeply conflicted feelings about motherhood to their frightening core. While on vacation by herself on the Ionian coast, Leda feels contentedly disburdened of her two 20-something daughters, who have moved to their father’s city of Toronto. She’s soon engrossed in watching the daily drama of Nina, a young mother, with her young daughter, Elena (along with Elena’s doll, Nani), at the seashore. Surrounded by proprietary Neapolitan relatives and absorbed in her daughter’s care, Nina at first strikes Leda as the perfect mother, reminding herself of when she was a new and hopeful parent. Leda’s eventual acquaintance with Nina yields a disturbing confession and sets in motion a series of events that threatens to wreck, or save, the integrity of Nina’s family. Ferrante’s prose is stunningly candid, direct and unforgettable. From simple elements, she builds a powerful tale of hope and regret. (May)