The Lost Daughter (Paperback)
Leda is a middle-aged divorcée 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.
Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. Her translations for Europa Editions include novels by Amara Lakhous, Alessandro Piperno, and Elena Ferrante's bestselling My Brilliant Friend. She lives in New York.
"Elena Ferrante will blow you away."
—Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
"The Lost Daughter is a resounding success...It is delicate yet daring, precise yet evanescent: it hurts like a cut, and cures like balm."
"The Lost Daughter is a novel about the female condition: the conflicts that can emerge in the sphere of marriage, the extinction of love and passion, the difficult relationships with children, which both obstruct and assist the free expression of one's feelings and the growth towards maturity."
"Ferrante can do a woman's interior dialogue like no one else, with a ferocity that is shockingly honest, unnervingly blunt."
"Ferrante has blown the lid off tempestuous parent-child relations."
—The Seattle Times
"So refined, almost translucent, that it seems about to float away. In the end this piercing novel is not so easily dislodged from the memory."
—The Boston Globe
"Ferrante's prose is stunningly candid, direct and unforgettable. From simple elements, she builds a powerful tale of hope and regret."
Praise for Elena Ferrante
“Elena Ferrante’s decision to remain biographically unavailable is her greatest gift to readers, and maybe her boldest creative gesture.”
—David Kurnick, Public Books
“Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it.”
—Eugenia Williamson, The Boston Globe
“Ferrante has written about female identity with a heft and sharpness unmatched by anyone since Doris Lessing.”
—Elizabeth Lowry, The Wall Street Journal
“Ferrante has become Italy’s best known writer. In our era of social media accessibility, shameless self-promotion, and hot young celebrity culture, this is nothing short of astounding.”
—Gina Frangello, Electric Literature
“Ferrante’s writing seems to say something that hasn’t been said before—it isn’t easy to specify what this is—in a way so compelling its readers forget where they are, abandon friends and disdain sleep.”
—Joanna Biggs, The London Review of Books
“To disagree over the quality of a Ferrante passage is often to run up against what you cannot answer or digest.”
—Jedediah Purdy, The Los Angeles Review of Books