Sunday, September 06, 2015

Women Authors in Translation

I stumbled upon an article (and now I can't find it for reference) the other day about women authors in translation that made me realize how few foreign women authors I've ever read.  One of the names that caught my eye was  Italian Elena Ferrante, author of a series recounting the lifelong relationship between two women.  The two live in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples in the early 1950s and they meet as little girls in school.  They are both among the brightest of their class, and they initially see each other more as rivals than friends.

The series has been published in this country as Europa editions, and I liked everything I saw about them except for their covers.  From the covers, one would think that the four books in the Elena and Lila series are mere romance novels, and nothing could be further from the truth.  I'm about to finish the first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, and have enjoyed how Ferrante deeply explores the evolving relationship of the two young girls right up through their adolescence.  These are two very well developed characters.  

So...time to find Book Two.  Right?  Well my library system is apparently not as brilliant as Elena's brilliant friend because, while I am able to reserve the third and fourth books in the series, the Harris County library system does not own a single copy of book two.  What makes this especially frustrating is that the fourth (and final) book in the series is only just now being published and it is already available to be reserved.  You would think that one of the countless librarians in the county would notice the gap caused by book two's absence.  But, no; that would be asking too much.

So now I have to purchase a copy of The Story of a New Name if I want to continue the series at all.  Now, I'm not against purchasing books and have purchased several thousand of them during my lifetime.  It's only my lack of shelf space that is causing me to limit my purchases these days, especially for a book that is not very likely to earn some of that precious shelf space in the long run.

Oh I'm off to find (I hope) a relatively inexpensive copy of the e-book.

Third Book in the Series

(It turns out that the e-book price is $9.99 and the price of a new paperback copy is only $10.17 - and that proves my point again about how stupid the pricing of e-books has become.)

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  1. I don't know if it is worth $50/year to you, but the Free Library of Philadelphia has an amazing e-library catalog, including the 2nd book in this series.

  2. Thanks, Kaye, for the information. I'll look into that later this afternoon. I had no idea that libraries were actually selling memberships this way. It sounds almost too good to be the idea. I purchased the second book this morning and went with the e-book because it was a three-week wait for Amazon to get it in stock and shipped. None of the local stores I checked with had a copy either. Thanks again.