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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Days of Abandonment comes The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante's most compelling and perceptive meditation on womanhood and motherhood yet.

Leda, a middle-aged divorcee, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence. Throughout the novel, Ferrante's language is as finely tuned and intense as ever, and she treats her theme with a fierce, candid tenacity.

©2006 Edizioni E/O. Translation ©2008 by Europa Editions (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Lost Daughter

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CK
  • 23-10-21

Subtle suspense. Riveting. Scary yet sentimental!

Do not listen to the haters. This is a a refined, subtle thriller. A proper story of how those swept away feelings lurk beneath the surface and come back just when we think they’re gone forever. Excellent work!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 26-12-17

Ferrante at her best

A remarkable turn of events, a devastating ending. And Ferrante's marvelous prose. Worth every page.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Niheala
  • 10-02-17

Point of view

having read three other of her books this is the view from one of her character's interesting to see the other side

2 people found this helpful

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  • kdiz
  • 08-11-21

Ferrante's finest shorter work

A violent slap in the face of a book. This one is about the trauma of motherhood, which is both reveling and mysterious and leaves you feeling haunted by Ferrante’s undercurrents of hidden violence which pervade all her works.

If you’ve read the Neapolitan quartet, you’ll see familiar mirror components here and there. The more I read Ferrante, the more I get a sense of who she is. Her writing is vicious and completely compelling and forces you to reflect on your own truths and personal sense of morality. I liked this one best of all her shorter novels.

Hillary Huber, once again, captures Ferrante perfectly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dr Sophie Henshaw
  • 06-09-21

Fascinating and Psychologically Complex

Unlike many of the reviewers here, I didn't find the characters unlikeable. Rather, they reminded me very much of the cast of characters in Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet, some even having the same names and traits. For example, Leda shares some commonalties with Lenu (her academic life, where she lived and her work as a writer, the same number of daughters, similar relationship with her ex husband, etc.) and Nina with Lila (who was both beautiful, elegant, but also coarse with her Naples dialect and violent tendencies).

The book delves into the private inner world of a middle-aged but youthful looking woman, Leda, who is ambivalent about motherhood. Leda experiences both tenderness and cruelty in relation to her daughters, Bianca and Marta and the Neapolitan mother Nina, her child Elena and the doll, Nene. I think this is the most interesting aspect of her character, that she has both tenderness / attraction and repulsion / irritability for the family on the beach. These are sentiments I'm sure many mothers would relate to, but very few would be honest about, which makes this book interesting. The sentiments also have a strong cultural flavour in the sense there's a "cult of the child" in Italy whereby children are adored but in private can experience cruelty and scorn from mothers who are overburdened.

The ending appears somewhat inconclusive and you're left wondering exactly what happened. That's where it's important to pay close attention to the opening chapter - which is actually the ending (but you don't realise it until the end). I had to go back and re-read it.

When I did re-read chapter 1 , I wondered about Leda's gift to Nina of the antique hatpin and her instruction to disinfect it when she got home. Did she or didn't she? I guess I'll never know! (P.S. You won't understand this part unless you get the book!).

As for the narration, it was rather nasally, which didn't seem to be the case when Hillary Huber read My Brilliant Friend. As such it seemed somewhat affected, which has put off some people but in the end didn't bother me too much.

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  • LeslieD314
  • 16-05-20

Well written, unlikable characters

The author paints a beautifully vivid picture of the Italian coast. Unfortunately, the characters were all unlikable. I hardly ever say this, but I wish I would have just seen the movie.

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  • Natalia Carrillo
  • 16-12-19

muy buena novela

Esta novela es excelente. La lectura en voz alta es muy buena también. El contenido es seco, a veces cruel, pero así es la vida a veces. La autora representa bien ese tipo de momentos, y nos lleva a la vida de una mujer madura que enfrenta una nueva etapa en su vida.

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  • amber
  • 06-12-15

Awful disappointment

After having read the Neapolitan series about Alaina and Lela I thought for sure I'd love this authors other books. I was wrong. The writing itself is good and similar to the 4 part series I enjoyed, but this main character and the woman in the other (Abandon whatever...) are unlikeable, crazy and unrelatable! I drudged through these two books just because I kept thinking something would happen to change my mind, but no. Absolutely disappointing!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lynn Labe
  • 19-05-17

AwfulStory and narrator

At first intriguing, then just weird. Protagonist must be one of the most unlikeable ever. Narrator overacted and had nasal quality.

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  • Brandon M. Mosavian
  • 05-11-21

didn't enjoy this

the narrator was pleasant enough to listen to, it was the story that was not enjoyable.

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  • Curly Welshie
  • 03-09-20

Absolutely awful.

Please don't waste hours of your life listening to this. I saw it's being made into a film with Olivia Colman and Paul Mescal so thought great, it must be a really good story.
I struggled to get through it. The narrator is robotic, the 'story' doesn't go anywhere, you can't feel any empathy for any of the characters, it's just so incredibly boring.
Didn't want to give any stars, but won't let me do that, so one star it is.

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  • Rys2512
  • 17-11-21

Haunting and beautiful

Loved this - my favourite Elena Ferrante so far. The writing is exquisite and the performance understated and sublime

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 30-07-21

Well written and read but an unsatisfactory plot.

The reader was excellent but I was disappointed that she had an American rather than an Italian accent. Ferrante is a brilliant writer and this was a first class translation. Each sparse phrase worded perfectly to conjure up an emotion, an atmosphere or a description. The protagonist who told the story in the first person, was brilliantly portrayed by the reader as a rather bitter, devious middle aged woman, both elegant and ageing, confident but with poor self esteem. However, I did not enjoy the story which I felt was a rather pointless vehicle for exploring motherhood and women's issues which did not work for me.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-01-21

Not a great story.

Struggled to read it. kept waiting for a story to emerge. Disappointing. Well written though. Superbly read by narrator.