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A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published. It is the gripping story of a womans descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.

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@I wanted to write stories about women with resources, women of invincible words, not a manual for the abandoned wife with her lost love at the top of her thoughts. I was young, I had pretensions. I didnt like the impenetrable page, like a lowered blind. I liked light, air between the slats…I loved the writers who made you look through every line, to gaze downward and feel the vertigo of the depths, the blackness of [email protected]

Was this Ferrante speaking through her main character, Olga? The moment we think we know everything, we know nothing at all. So quick we are to judge, so quick to think we have a handle on this thing called life; until life shows us just how cyclical it can be. Who said that a book on women had to work so hard against sensitivity? Why bind the female writer or protagonist and expect her to only tell stories of what the dominant society expects of her; meanwhile, the real issues remain covered. This is what Olga, the protagonist who is also a writer, discovers when she finds herself being the female character she thought she would never write about.

The minute I turned the first page of this book, I knew I was reading a book whose mood would handcuff me, demanding my attention. I knew I would @look through every [email protected] and yes, I did feel @the blackness of [email protected] The melancholic tone and pseudo-psychotic voice is what turns these pages, as you live in the head of a woman who has lost herself. She is a mother of two kids and her husband has left her for a younger woman, so this seems like an overstated story, but Olga is not the character you would expect. She manages to be all these things: timid, ferocious, naive, angry, untrusting, sarcastic, and depressed. Better yet, she uses language that will shock you and this is all good because her pain has made her uninhibited and you can tell that it feels good to her and frankly, it adds to the mood of the piece and feels good to be read because at that moment you see her come into herself. She realizes that she really is sinking and shes become one of those women she didnt imagine herself being , @time seemed to be boiling over, flowing in sticky waves out of a pot onto the [email protected]

Downward goes the spiral.
Hold the commas, hold the periods. Its not easy to go from the happy serenity of a romantic stroll to the chaos, to the incoherence of the world.

This book is not just about another woman who gets dumped. It is about the perplexities of a woman who finds herself suddenly abandoned and alone and she realizes that somehow, she has slowly slipped away from herself, evaporated, and she has no idea how to get back to her core. The more frantic and dangerous Olga became, I feared for her children, I almost cried for the poor dog, and I was frustrated at some parts of the last scenes when I wanted to reach through my book and shake her awake. Isnt this what we do in real life when we see a friend or loved one go through a similar ordeal? This book is about the moment life changes and we dont know what to do with the change, or rather, we dont know how our minds will cope with such change. Will we become Olga?
I had only to quiet the view inside, the thoughts, They got mixed up, they crowded in on one another, shreds of words and images, buzzing frantically, like a swarm of wasps, they gave to my gestures a brute capacity to do harm.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
First person novels featuring women going slightly or more than slightly bonkers are not hard to come by, in fact they may be a whole sub-genre. These are some I have read in the last couple of years

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce in which a waitress has way too much sex and drugs (but hardly any rock and roll)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh in which Eileen (who else) is driven to the point of distraction by her alky father and does something really crazy
Dietland by Sarai Walker in which the self loathing of an obese young woman gradually transmutes into some kind of political terrorism
A Day Off by Storm Jameson in which a middle aged woman spends her day off from the sprocket factory hating on anything and everything
The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek in which a daughter has been driven quite masochistically loopy by her horrible controlling mother
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill in which an abandoned wife gradually cracks up

The Days of Abandonment is similar to this last one, except the abandonment by the husband comes from a clear blue sky like a sudden clap of thunder.

One April afternoon, right after lunch, my husband announced that he wanted to leave me.

That’s the first sentence. After that we’re on a fast helter-skelter into mania. I am glad to report that the utter banality of this novel’s storyline – could it be more dull and overused? – is totally justified by the brilliance of Elena Ferrante’s close-up hyperreal portrait of a disintegrating mind. It’s somewhat like Roman Polanski’s terrifying movie Repulsion if Catherine Deneuve had two kids and a dog to look after.

On page 88 Olga, the narrator, says

When I opened my eyes again, five hours later on Saturday August 4th, I had trouble getting my bearings. The hardest day of the ordeal of my abandonment was about to begin, but I didn’t know it yet.

She takes the next 63 pages to describe in excruciating detail the events of the day. Her language wobbles and spins as her mind does and she comes out with stuff like :

The universe of good reasons that I had been given after adolescence was narrowing. No matter how much I had tried to be slow, to have thoughtful gestures, that world over the years had nevertheless moved in too great a whirl, and its globelike figure was reduced to a thin round tablet, so thin that, as fragments splintered off, it appeared to be pierced in the middle , soon it would become like a wedding ring, finally it would dissolve.

At a later point she is inveigled to spend an evening with friends who then crassly attempt to set her up with some random guy. This does not go down well with our Olga:

Evenings like thus. Appearing at the house of strangers, marked as a woman waiting to remake her life. At the mercy of other women who, unhappily married, struggle to propose me to men they consider fascinating. Having to accept the game, not to be able to confess that those men arouse only uneasiness in me, for their explicit goal, known to all present, is to seek contact with my cold body, to warm themselves by warming me, and then to crush me with their role of born seducers, men alone like me, like me frightened by strangers, worn out by failures and by empty years, separated, divorced, widowers, abandoned, betrayed.


I was going to rate this 3.5 but I seem to have talked myself into 4 stars during the writing of this review. In its demon fury certainly this novel tramps all over the last ten or so that I’ve read. So if you want to be harrowed by desperate misery for a couple of days, you may like this.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
4.5 stars.

Elena Ferrante is an author I would never have checked out in the first place, if it wasnt for the fact that this book in particular was recommended to me by a bookish friend I trust. I mean lets be honest, that cover doesnt do this book any justice - its terrible. And I know people say you should never judge a book by its cover, but most people I guarantee would have. This is why I implore all of you to read this book.

This is the depiction of one woman, Olga, and how she deals (or doesnt deal) with the fact that her husband has suddenly decided he is leaving her. As a reader, we are inside this womans head throughout all of the days of abandonment, and its a truly dark, bleak, and at times shocking place. We witness her erratic thoughts, her hallucinations, her desperation, her pain, her rage (which I believe was seen as quite controversial and shocking when the book was first published) - in short, youre drowning in her.

The writing and story is incredibly powerful, and as a reader I had very mixed emotions towards Olga as a character throughout. For the most part I did sympathise with her, as her situation was terrible and her husband was an ass, but on the other hand some of the things she said and did, the way she treated people... there was a lot to dislike about how she was dealing with the situation.

Despite being a relatively short novel, its definitely not a quick read. At times you are focusing on the language that Ferrante gifts her character, and the way Olga articulates her thoughts is both harsh and beautiful (enough so that you are taken out of your reverie by a mere turn of phrase). At other times you are trudging through what feels like thick mud, and you feel like youll never get out of it.

In short, read this book. Even if you think the plot sounds too girly, just read it. Its fantastic, and Im still thinking about it several days after putting it down. I will most definitely be checking out all of Ferrantes other novels, no matter how bad the covers are.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This is as close to perfection a novel told in the first person can achieve. A knock against @womens [email protected] that it never aims for, or achieves, a large-scale canvas. Ambitious men prefer architecture over sensitivity, evidence shows. Nothing like reading another 700 page book from Mitchell or Murakami. Ordinarily the lack of curiosity about those outside ones class explains why: the preference for ones circle of intimates where uncertainties and dangers are kept away. In less than 200 pages Ferrante turns the convention upside down, the large-scale over the domestic. Complex plotting in the dissolution of a marriage, its astonishing that she can achieve a sense of grandeur in a subject so common its almost not even worth noting.

At last I understand what @[email protected] is - a momentary loss of sanity, you can never really know what freedom is until youve touched upon this loss. The dying dog, the paper-cutter, the smashing of the window. At each step of the way in this environment choices are presented; one is chosen; it leads to disastrous consequences. We think that if that was us we would probably have chosen the other option. But there are no better options - thats the nature of vertigo, that youre trapped in terra incognita. It also dictates Ferrantes outstanding depiction of time passing: the voice is caught in a space between telling a story and explaining herself to herself when she realizes the explanations to herself, up to this point, have been wrong.

Overall its the complete honesty thats conveyed from a person who is given the opportunity of not having to worry about how she comes across anymore. Its temporary and it opens up this one womans consciousness beautifully, as it stands for something much larger than herself. A miracle of storytelling, not once did I find the narrator Olga an embarrassment, even though shes trapped in a humiliating situation. If she seems angry shes lashing out at society, not anyone in particular (except for that time when the husband takes a drubbing) so you dont feel the usual finger pointing at you when reading highly upset feminism. Its amazing that for such a political book, politics, on the surface, are absent. The narrator doesnt - and perhaps never has - belonged to anyone, and yet she needs the affections stability brings. Why? Thats a large part of the excitement of this novel. How do I look? she asks. She shows us her small breasts (and in her next novel Ferrante has her narrator lifting up her dress at a clothing store to reveal her panties - this kind of exhibitionism in someone this intelligent is not the usual order of things).

An example of the brilliance in storytelling is when Olga brings her children to the office and they can feel the sexual tension between her and a colleague. The usual novelist, with an irritating fallback mode of responsibility, would let us know exactly what thats about - Ferrante touches upon the depth of her character by simply noting its there.

success depends on the capacity to manipulate the obvious with calculated precision. I didnt know how to adapt, I didnt know how to yield completely to Marios gaze

The psychological perceptiveness feels so accurate to its aims from start to finish it becomes poetic.

The whole thing depressed me. This is what awaits me, I thought. Evenings like this. Appearing at the house of strangers, marked as a woman waiting to remake her life. At the mercy of other women who, unhappily married, struggle to propose to me men they consider fascinating. Having to accept the game, not to be able to confess that those men arouse only uneasiness in me, for their explicit goal, known to all present, is to feel contact with my cold body, to warm themselves by warming me, and then to crush me with their role of born seducers, men alone like me, like me frightened by strangers, worn out by failures and by empty years, separated, divorced, widowers, abandoned, betrayed.

Ordinarily you dont come across women like this because they dont notice you either.

This one novel single-handedly redeemed my faith in contemporary literature, which I was just about ready to give up. Houellebecq had been funny for a while but now compared to Ferrante he seems a little silly.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Ferrante is a master at capturing human emotion. Not only that, her sentences are so delightful and can turn from horrifying to elating in a matter of seconds. Im happy to say this one did not disappoint.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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