Lina and Elena are older now, and choices have consequences both in personal and political situations. They are growing up, and though they both find their ways to try to escape – Naples, relationships, family, etc. – both are repeatedly drawn back in. There is no leaving.

Ferrante’s surgical prose (thanks to Ann Goldstein’s exquisite translation) remains compelling here as Lina finds her way into the political turmoil of her time, and Elena finds herself stuck in several unanticipated ways. And searching in other ways. Her exploration of the political world of women is energizing. I want to read the book she finishes in this book.

And the web of their original neighborhood ensnares them both. Ferrante’s ability to create such a wide range of dynamic characters – even the children are richly developed – is remarkable. In terms of plot, the major events in the world surrounding Ferrante’s characters are always present, but never consuming. The events intersect with and influence Ferrante’s cast, but they never take center stage.

I have, well, watched these people grow up and older. There is one more book to go. I am eager to get to it, but will force myself to wait. After all, it’s the last.