|The Story of a New Name (L'amica geniale #2)
"In the spring of 1966, Lila, in a state of great agitation, entrusted to me a metal box that contained eight notebooks."
The Story of a New Name is an extraordinary novel about two young women, Lila and Elena, growing up in Naples in the early 1960s. At sixteen Lila marries the shopkeeper Stefano. She is filled with pleasure at her new wealth, and horror at the life she has chosen.
Elena's own attempts at romance seem to be sabotaged by Lila's turbulent affairs. As she tries to plot her way out of poverty via academic and literary success, her constant anxiety is that she is just a shadow of the brilliant Lila.
The sequel to My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name continues the enthralling chronicle of a friendship that is obsessive, loving, complicated, hurtful, enduring and constantly startling. It is an exhilarating reading experience.
This is the second book in the Italian series done by Elena Ferrante. I'll admit that I usually shy away from series but I got caught up in this one (mostly thanks to the Tournament of Books). As much as I enjoyed the first book in the series, "My Brilliant Friend"... with this one I felt a little love and a little hate. I enjoyed the time the girls spent together on vacation by the beach. The friendship between the girls fascinates me and drives me to continue on with the series. As soon as the story split the two up, things went downhill for me. Maybe it was the academia sections but I started to realize that I don't really "know" who Elena is. I can pinpoint who Lila is without a doubt, so much focus is on her character. I wish we could almost see Elena from the perspective of another character to get a stronger feel from her. I don't feel that connected to her life (separately from Lila) and I couldn't wait for them to be brought together again. I only hope that the third book in the series brings back the magic that shines when the two girls/women are together.
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