An Open Letter to Elena Ferrante

Rachel Donadio at The Atlantic:

All creators of fiction contain multitudes. Writers write to discover themselves, and to hide themselves. “I know that my books can only be female,” you have written. “But I also know that female (or male) absoluteness is inconceivable. We are tornadoes that pick up fragments with the most varied historical and biographical origins.” No matter who is writing under your name, Elena, your work loses none of its urgency, none of its power. Sometimes I think back to the last passage of The Story of the Lost Child, the final Neapolitan novel. Lenù has again found traces of Lila. “Unlike stories, real life, when it has passed, inclines toward obscurity, not clarity,” Lenù thinks. This is precisely the feeling I have after reading your books. It’s the fiction that offers the clarity. The real life, the lived experience that might drive the imagination, remains a mystery.

more here.