Not a good entrance point for readers unfamiliar with the author’s work, but devotees will surely pore over the bits and...

An assemblage of correspondence and interviews provides Ferrante-curious readers with a look into the mind and methods of the reclusive author.

First published in Italy in 2003, subsequent to the publication of the author’s first two stand-alone novels, this new and expanded, English-language edition of Frantumaglia (“fragments”) follows the juggernaut that is the Neapolitan Quartet (2012-2015). Interviews, letters, and other fragments from the years spanning 1991 to 2016 touch on a variety of topics, including Ferrante’s widely reported beliefs about books having “no need of their authors” once published and discussions of authors whose works have inspired or informed her own—e.g., Elsa Morante, Alba de Cespedes, Madame de La Fayette. The ambiguous dance Ferrante engages in with readers and interpreters is revealed in the assertion that she would only marginally involve herself with the screenplay for the film adaptation of her early novel Troubling Love, which ultimately translates into the provision of several pages of detailed commentary on the treatment. The author’s ambivalence about the release of the assembled “fragments” of interviews and writings themselves drove her to agree to their publication only if they were presented as an “appendix” or companion text to her novels. Her primary argument that an author’s only duty to readers is the writing of a book—and not selling it or promoting the author—permeates hundreds of pages of excerpted interviews; only rarely does anything of biographical significance sneak through. One distinctive interview, from the art magazine Frieze, does provide tantalizing details about Ferrante’s preferences in art and music, but mostly she confines herself to reiterations of her isolationist manifesto, explorations of her influences, and articulations of the struggles of female authors.

Not a good entrance point for readers unfamiliar with the author’s work, but devotees will surely pore over the bits and pieces in an effort to arrive one step closer at understanding the phenomenon that is Ferrante fever.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60945-292-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Europa Editions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955