Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

This post, a review of the last of Elena Ferrante’s novels about Naples, Italy, was first published on 16 January 2016. I read all four books in this series while I lived on the outskirts of Naples. Thanks to Ferrante I was shown inside the city, inside what links us all.

The Phraser

The last of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels The last of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels

This is a story about the dark places, and the fires, inside all of us.  It’s not new, it’s as old as Naples, but it’s told with the energy of possibility and through the eyes of women.

The Story of the Lost Child is the last book in a series of four – the Neapolitan novels.

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Naples, Italy: on its way to the New Year

I first posted a version of this piece this time last year. This is a relaunch – more photographs, less story – a thank you to a city that gave us so much.

The Phraser

Image from a t-shirt design by 'Officina Flegrea' Image from a t-shirt design by ‘Officina Flegrea’ – off.flegrea@gmail.com

In the summer of 2014 we arrived in our new home on the outskirts of Naples.  We left this autumn.  Two years in total, two years in which we were privileged to see places many Neapolitans themselves never get the chance to visit.  Some of the sights we saw were outside the city but many were squeezed into its narrow streets.

This post, mainly of photographs, is a glance at the context, at some of the neighbourhoods and corners, that frame a few of those places that were in Naples itself.

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Merry Christmas … Happy Holidays … Season’s Greetings

Christmas tree 2016

Christmas tree 2016

The holidays have arrived and with them a new frenzy.  It’s hectic here so I’ll pause for a few days to try to keep pace with it all.

Many thanks for your company over this past year – for your reading, for your writing, for your sharing – and a special thanks to Naples for all the stories.

May the next few days be filled with friends, family and kindness … best wishes all round.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

The shadow of San Gennaro – Naples, Italy

San Gennaro and his ostensorium in the cathedral of Naples, Italy on 19 September 2016

San Gennaro and his ostensorium in the cathedral of Naples, Italy on 19 September 2016

The liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro, an event known as ‘il prodigio‘, happens three times a year in Naples, Italy … at least it should.  This December on the last, and least high profile, of these occasions for 2016, San Gennaro’s blood did not liquefy.

There are many in Naples who will see this as an ominous sign for the city.

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I like the International Airport in Naples, Italy

A look back (first published 3.1.2016): I flew through this airport many times during our two years in Campania. On one of the last trips I managed to lose my passport somewhere in duty free, but found it later waiting for me at my departure gate.

The Phraser

Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli Early morning outside the Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli.

Most airports I’ve met recently are soulless travel malls … apart from one – the Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli.

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The haircut – Naples, Italy

The hair problem

The hair problem

The day arrives, a day that sends shivers through my toothbrush … it’s the day of the haircut.  This dreaded day I am in Naples, Italy and about to pay my first visit to one of the city’s hairdressers.

In a froth of toothpaste I imagine a salon crowded with suntanned, Latin loveliness … icy, manicured fingernails stab down my spine.

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2015 – Christmas in Naples, Italy, from the outside

A look back (first published on 24 December 2015): Christmas in Naples – different but not so different.

The Phraser

A Christmas light by the San Paolo football stadium in Naples, Italy A Christmas light by the San Paolo football stadium in Naples, Italy

The sun shines in Naples and the streets are full.  Many are just out for the occasion, to watch and be watched, and others to shop, to sell, to beg, to walk the dog.

It’s definitely Christmas but it never stops being Naples – nothing is drowned in jingles or jolliness.

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