Book Review

Book Review: The Days of Abandonment

I know this makes me sound like a major nerd, but I actually have a favorite publishing company: Europa Editions. Europa publishes tons of international books that have been translated into English. I’ve found so many gems from this publishing company, but recently I read one that I just had to share: The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante.

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Elena Ferrante is an Italian author who is most known for being notoriously private. Her true identity has never been revealed, although there is plenty of speculation online as to who she might be. She is known most for her four-book Neapolitan series. The Days of Abandonment is one of her earlier works, but I thought it was an absolutely fantastic exploration of a crumbling relationship.

The Days of Abandonment follows a woman who is blindsided by her husband as he leaves her. In this short book (it’s only 188 pages), you can track her grief – from denial to emptiness to acceptance. This is one of the most emotionally raw books I’ve ever read, but it worked. I could see some complain that it is overly sentimental, but I disagree. I think that Ferrante has depicted the genuine emotion that comes from this situation. This is a hyper-realistic story that really touches on the psyche of the abandoned. Here, you can see how the whole family has to deal with this unexpected change. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for carefully crafted domestic literary fiction.

Book Review

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake 

I think that deep down most people wish that magic was real. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love magical realism as a genre. In magical realism, our world is infused with just a little bit of magic, which usually illuminates something about human nature. Recently, I read the magical realism novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.

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In this book, Rose Edelstein has a magical gift that is also kind of a curse: whenever she eats something, she can taste the emotions of the person who made the food. I think that the goodreads description sums up this book beautifully: “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them.” As Rose learns more about her gift and those around her, she has to reckon with the fact that people often try to hide what they’re feeling for a reason.

This is definitely a character-driven book that focuses mostly on Rose and her family dynamic. As they navigate their lives, emotions, and disappointments, Rose uses her gift to truly empathize with others and learn more about being human.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was unique in concept and had some truly beautiful prose. If you’re looking for something psychological and very character-driven, I think you should give this one a try!