Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
This book, the third in the series, has an ache in it that grows as the story lengthens. It is about the absence of love and belonging, and the complications of motherhood.
The themes belong to us all and Ferrante intensifies them against the backdrop of Naples. She paints her story with the city’s colours, chosen for their truth from a palette that other cities struggle to match.
Fiesole, with green space and Tuscan villas, is on a hill a few miles outside Florence. Calm and straight-forward it lets the mind breathe again after the density of its famous neighbour.
We visited Fiesole with an art student from the city below. For six months she had been immersed in statues, drawings and all the glories of Florence, but when we met her what she longed for … was grass.