How Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels changed my taste in literature

I FINALLY finished Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels series yesterday after an embarassingly lengthy period spent reading them.

I’m behind on the times, I know, I know. But working a fulltime engineering job and finishing a part time engineering degree is no joke, guys.

These books drew me in more than anything I’ve read in a LONG time. And they aren’t of the genre I’d usually pick up during a high-stress time in my life. When I’m super busy with work and school I tend to go for something mindless – the Kardashians version of a book.

But I’d argue that Elena Ferrante’s books are much more character driven than plot driven, which is not of the trashy fast-paced romance novel chick lit sort of genre.

Instead, this 4-part series deeply delves into the lives of two women and the dynamics of their lifelong friendship as they grow up and establish lives in a very poor neighborhood of Naples.

The series could be seen as a study of a particular corner of Italy during a very specific time period; and through the relationships that these women forge over the span of their lives and the slow drawn-out build up of various tales of their experiences we get a picture of what it was like to find your niche in the world in post-war Italy in an poor family that did not value education.

This series has really pushed me to be patient with literature that is slow-paced. It’s made me realize that my GoodReads goals aren’t the be-all and end-all of my reading experience.

That reading a bit of a novel and digesting all of the implications of a passage is okay – it’s not a rush to finish a series as quickly as possible.

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