Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author of several books that have been translated into English. I have read most of them. I am a huge fan of her work. She is an author who has kept her true identity hidden, and retained her not only her identity, but also her sense of Self and her sense of freedom to write what she wants without her identity being thrown into the limelight.

I use the gender ‘she’ when defining her, but in actuality she could be a man. Who knows for sure, only her publisher.

Here is a list of some of her books that I have read:

My Brilliant Friend
The Story of a New Name
Those Who Leave and Those who Stay
The Days of Abandonment
The Lost Daughter
Troubling Love

I gravitate to her stories of life in Italy, specifically, life in Naples. I become mesmerized with her depictions of the harsh realities of the characters within the framework of poverty, hardship and striving to somehow move forward.

Men compete for attention within each other, the same with the women. But, the men and their insecurities seem to rule the moments, quite often, and their lack of esteem outweighs the women and their own longings and lack of confidence. Women grapple with child-rearing and domesticity, while the men strut and swagger as if they owned the women. Women reign in their own goals for careers, while men often flounder in theirs, yet interact as if they were superior. The Italian, male mindset is a force that is difficult to break down. Women are often left beholden to their mate, even if the relationship is lackluster.

The need to move forward is often stifled due to love interests and also due to emotional borders. Yet, within the stifled lives, there is a sense of motivation that crops up when least expected.

Ferrante’s writing is bold, illuminatingly harsh at times, and brilliant on so many levels. She leaves nothing left unsaid, nothing left to the imagination. She uses prose as if the words were an attack on life, with anger spewing forth, and also uses them with quietude and softness. The comparisons within situations is compelling and defining.

Her novels speak volumes (pun intended), as to the history of the social aspects in Naples, as well as the history of the city, itself. Social dysfunctiuns, familial dysfunctions, and familial dysfunctions are treated brashly, realistically, and with a compelling foundation.

Elena Ferrante’s books help me understand the barriers presented by familial bonds, friendship bonds, and the bonds of love and loss, within the social strata of the Italian environment. Her books speak to me, possibly due to my Italian heritage, but also due to the human condition exhibited within the pages. Humanity is explored in depth within the pages of her books.

Her novel, The Story of a Lost Child, will be published in September. I will definitely purchase it.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Sunday Scenes: August 16, 2015


I joined The Friends of the Library! I love that organization, and enjoy the volunteering at book sales, and helping out any way I can. I have always joined this particular group, in any local library where I have lived. It is a great way to meet like-minded people and interact with other bibliophiles.

I enjoyed Shabbat service this past Friday. It was nice to be back in the environment where I spent so many years in the past, and in the synagogue where I feel completely at home.



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War and Art

I have read two books that involve the restoring/returning of stolen art, during wartime, to the rightful owner/s. One deals with art stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The other book tells a story of a journey to find whether a work of art was stolen during World War I.

The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Anne-Marie O’Connor, is a true story, and it is the book that the recently released film, The Woman in Gold was based upon.

The book is a vivid depiction, not only regarding Adele Bloch-Bauer, the woman who posed for the artist, but also a compelling story of a work of art, and how one woman’s passion and perseverance led to the finding the provenance of the painting. The trials and tribulations in order to ascertain provenance, in order to prove that the work of art belonged in her family, and that it was stolen, outright, by the Nazis, lasted for a decade.

The Austrian government did not want to release the valuable painting, claiming legal ownership. Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, claimed otherwise, stating she was the legal heir to the painting.

The story is illuminating in many aspects. The reader is given snippets of life in Austria, life of the wealthy and how they lived, where they lived, and what the valued. It also is the story of the intricate and minute details involved in trying to gain proof of ownership or provenance. Word of mouth does not work. Documents do not often work, either.

I saw the film, and it was well-done. If I compare it to the book, I would have to say the book was more detailed, whereas the film encompassed dramatic visuals of the time period. I enjoyed both the book and the film, and give them equal share on my enjoyment scale.

The second book, entitled, The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel, by Jojo Moyes, depicts one family’s struggle to survive during World War I, in a small town in the outskirts of Paris.

Sophie Lefevre’s husband Edouard is a painter. He painted a portrait of Sophie, which is stunning. He eventually must leave in order to fight the Germans. Those Germans eventually occupy the town, and take over the small bar/cafe enterprise that Sophie and her sister operate. The Kommandant and his soldiers are to have dinner prepared for them every night, no questions asked. It is a command that can not be refused.

Fast forward to the present, and Liv Halston, a widow of four years, has the painting hanging in her home. From there the story begins to move quicker.

She is quite insistent that the painting, bought by her husband, for her, is legally hers. She involves herself and others in a battle for ownership. From the living heirs to Liv, herself, the story line unfolds with intensity, and with incredible details of search methods and documentation.

The historical aspect is well-done, and well researched. I was surprised by some of the facts, and did not realize that during World War I, the Germans stole artwork, furniture, silver items from homes, anything and everything they felt useful, was taken. That was revealing for me.

How does the story end? You will have to read the book to find out.


Filed under Book Reviews, Films, Historical Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Lorri's Blog, Memoirs, World War II

Sunday Scenes: August 9, 2015


cruising river

These particular scenes were not captured on a Sunday, but were taken almost one year ago.

The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use. – Dom Degnon

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Sunday Scenes: July 19, 2015


The July 2015 Jewish Book Carnival is up, hosted by Deborah Kalb! Take a moment to browse the submitted links.



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Road Trip Home

shasta1 copy

Oh my! Has it really been this long since my last post?! It feels good to post, once again.

I have been very busy the past month or so. I have relocated back to CA, from WA, where I had been living the past ten month.

It was an extremely difficult decision to move back, but I needed to feel the sense of satisfaction and peace that a familiar and comforting environment brings one.

I am a native New Yorker, brought up on Long Island. I moved to CA in 1968 (where my mother and brother were living), in my mid-twenties. The majority of my life has been spent in CA. There is a lot to be said for familiarity and the comfortableness of environment.

My relocation back to my comfort zone has been more than positive. I feel at home, and my sense of peace is illuminated in more ways than one, each day.

A dear and caring friend of mine traveled by plane to the local airport in WA. She flew in to help me drive my car back to CA. There aren’t too many individuals in one’s life who would be so selfless. Within one hour of speaking to her about wanting to return, she had everything set up and ready to go. How often in our lives are we able to say that a friendship is so strong and caring, and that our friend will literally do anything possible for our happiness!


The photos were taken on our road trip back to CA. They are both of Mt. Shasta. The photo at the top was taken on the road…I was not driving. The photo on the bottom was taken from our hotel window, just before sunset.


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