Reviews for Days of Abandonment


Booklist Reviews 2005 September #2
A classic pop tune asks "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?" Ferrante's answer in this novel of a woman betrayed and scorned might be the title of another, "I Fall to Pieces." Olga's husband, Mario, has left her and their two school-age children not for another woman but for Carla, a barely legal teenager he had once tutored. Despite having told Olga he was finished with Carla, Mario continued his secret affair with the girl until she became of age. And then he walked out on Olga. Olga goes from being a soft-spoken, meticulously groomed 38-year-old, who suppresses any kind of extreme emotion and prides herself on her spic-and-span housekeeping and excellent cuisine, to becoming a slovenly, wild-eyed creature who creates a brawl on a public street by ripping Mario's shirt from his back when she spots him with Carla. Readers may want to, but won't be able to, turn away from this gut-wrenching portrayal, including graphic scenes of animal-like suffering, of Olga's descent into madness and painful reconstruction of her life. ((Reviewed September 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Library Journal Reviews 2005 October #2

First published in Italy in 2002, this book tells the timeless story of a married man leaving his wife for a much younger woman. Narrator Olga describes how her husband Mario tells her matter-of-factly about his lover after lunch one afternoon. As a metaphor for her situation, Olga invokes the "legend" of the poverella (literally the "poor woman"), who loses her home, marriage, and financial and emotional stability when her husband leaves her. Olga makes an effort to stave off that fate--she does not scream or rebuke Mario for abandoning her and her young children for a while, instead maintaining an eerie calm. Her emotions eventually boil over, however, and humiliation and anger come off her like molten lava, searing everything that they touch. Olga candidly describes the anxiety, fear, and tumult that lead from her trying to hurt Mario and his young lover to her creating a peaceful home for her and her children. In the end, she finds her own way out. Raw and gut-wrenching, this book will find fans in literary fiction readers but not among the timid. For medium and larger public libraries with contemporary fiction collections.--Lisa Nussbaum, Dauphin Cty. Lib. Syst., Harrisburg, PA

[Page 44]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 July #2
Once an aspiring writer, Olga traded literary ambition for marriage and motherhood; when Mario dumps her after 15 years, she is utterly unprepared. Though she tells herself that she is a competent woman, nothing like the poverella (poor abandoned wife) that mothers whispered about in her childhood, Olga falls completely apart. Routine chores overwhelm her; she neglects her appearance and forgets her manners; she throws herself at the older musician downstairs; she sees the poverella's ghost. After months of self-pity, anger, doubt, fury, desperation and near madness, her acknowledgments of weaknesses in the marriage feel as earned as they are unsurprising. Smoothly translated by New Yorker editor Goldstein, this intelligent and darkly comic novel-which sat atop Italian bestseller lists for nearly a year, has been translated into 12 languages and adapted for an Italian film slated for 2006 release-conveys the resilience of a complex woman. Speculation about the identity of the pseudonymous Ferrante, whose previous novel is scheduled for 2006 release by Europa, has reached Pynchon-like proportions in Italy. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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