The Days of Abandonment

The Days of Abandonment

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781933372006
Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 92,200
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Elena Ferrante  is the author of  The Days of Abandonment  (Europa, 2005),  Troubling Love  (Europa, 2006),  The Lost Daughter  (Europa, 2008) and the Neapolitan Quartet (Europa 2012-2015). She is also the author of a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri,  The Beach at Night.

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.

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The Days of Abandonment 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Days of Abandonment is the second novel by Italian author, Elena Ferrante. When Mario announces after dinner that he intends to leave Olga after fifteen years of marriage, she at first believes this is another “absence of sense”, as Mario referred to his infatuation with fifteen-year-old Carla, five years earlier. She tries to discuss things calmly, as they have always done: “I hated raised voices, movements that were too brusque. My own family was full of noisy emotions, always on display, and I felt that I was inside a clamorous life and that everything might come apart because of a too piercing sentence, an ungentle movement of the body”. Olga had given up her own ambition to become a writer (“I was young, I had pretensions. I didn’t like the impenetrable page, like a lowered blind. I liked light, air between the slats. I wanted to write stories full of breezes, of filtered rays where dust motes danced… I loved writers who made you look through every line, to gaze downward and feel the vertigo of the depths, the blackness of inferno”) to support Mario and care for their children. Now, suddenly alone, abandoned with just her two young children, Olga spirals through anger into deep despair. She alienates friends: “…so even the very few people who still tried to help me withdrew in the end: it was difficult to put up with me. I found myself alone and frightened by my own desperation”; she questions who and what she is: “…perhaps I would understand better why he had gone and why I, who had always set against the occasional emotional confusion the stable order of our affections, now felt so violently the bitterness of loss, an intolerable grief, the anxiety of falling out of the web of certainty and having to relearn life without the security of knowing how to do it” Olga reaches a crisis point, descending into a dangerous mental and physical state: “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…”, she behaves in a completely uncharacteristic manner, before she eventually gains a new sense of herself: “Perhaps I remained beautiful even if my husband had rolled up the sense of my beauty into a ball and thrown it into the wastepaper basket, like wrapping paper”. Ferrante certainly knows how to convey the myriad of emotions, the stages of loss that accompany a marital breakdown. Readers should be prepared for the explicit language that reflects the depth of Olga’s anger. This dark tale, filled with marvellous descriptive prose, has a hopeful ending. A powerful read. 4.5 stars
thorold on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The structure of this novel is familiar: narrator suffers a personal calamity and moves through denial into a pattern of withdrawal from the world and increasingly eccentric behaviour which leads to some sort of (usually ludicrous) crisis where the narrator descends into full-blown madness for a while. This crisis then turns out to have had a cathartic effect and resolved things, allowing the narrator to return to normality. There's a whole sub-genre of these out there. It's a formula, but it mustn't be handled like a formula, because it's dealing with the real tragedies of everyday life: in Ferrante's case, the narrator's husband has walked out, leaving her to deal with kids, dog and apartment. It's also a form that needs to be handled with a degree of lightness: the sufferings of fictional characters can easily become trite or mawkish. Ferrante does this pretty well: her narrator, Olga, observes her own progress from intelligent middle-class housewife to scary madwoman with ironic detachment, and the flightiest emotional passages are always set against incidents of domestic triviality. But the reader isn't allowed to become altogether detached: when it comes to the big crisis scene, we may suspect from our knowledge of literary convention that everything will be resolved happily, but we can't quite be sure. As a literary novel, the book self-consciously plays with different meanings of abandonment. Olga has been abandoned, i.e. deserted, by her husband. But she has also abandoned, i.e. given up, part of herself in her relationship with the errant husband, a part which she is now trying to retrieve. Left alone, she becomes abandoned, i.e. wanton, in the sense that she increasingly loses her self-control, uses coarse language and thinks constantly about sex (incidentally, the book has one of the funniest sex scenes I've come across for some time). She has lost her grip on the things that are supposed to be central to her role as wife and mother—the children get hurt, the dog is not properly looked after, the apartment gets into a mess, she behaves violently and immodestly—and it becomes an open question which parts of her life are going to survive the crisis, if any. Obviously you have to decide for yourself whether this is brutally honest or gratuitously offensive: to me it comes across as shocking, but by no means implausible.
dawnlovesbooks on LibraryThing 7 months ago
a woman's husband leaves her and her mind falls apart. very powerful book and i imagine that some women do feel this dysfunctional when their husbands leave them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like The Bell Jar but with shrinking instead of growing relevant insights as book progresses
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her writing is amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RANYC More than 1 year ago
Elena Ferrante is one of the most interesting writers around. Her Neapolitan novels (2 available in translation; 2 to come) are fantastic. Highly recommend this one, too, about a woman whose marriage ends and the ways she falls apart--and puts herself together again. Short, brutal, beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hang on to the end. It's worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is she naked?