The Days of Abandonment, by Elena Ferrante (read by Hillary Huber)

Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, narrated by Hillary Huber.

Ferrante is touted as one of Italy’s finest writers and her talent is again apparent here.

In The Days Of Abandonment, Ferrante presents the uncontained grief of 38 year old Olga when her husband of 15 years announces he is leaving her and their two children. Her loss of self in the following days and months seems complete and irremediable.

It is difficult to imagine someone writing this without having experienced, deeply and personally, a similar grief. Reproducing that grief as graphically as Elena Ferrante has in this book shows extraordinary access to human experience and emotion.

All Olga has to hold onto is her anger and the ghost of a woman from her childhood neighbourhood known as The Poverella. Olga’s clearest desire is to never become that woman. The Poverella went crazy after her husband left her, and the harder Olga resists succumbing to the same fate, the closer she comes to it.

Olga’s descent is painful to follow due to it’s rawness and intensity. I don’t remember when I’ve ever seen such devastating grief portrayed so explicitly.

It is eerie how well Hillary Huber portray’s Olga’s “destroyed woman.” Huber has narrated  Ferrante’s previous books and this is another beautiful performance. The translation from Italian into English and then into audio is perfect.

This production is exceptional as are Blackstone Audio’s other productions of Ferrante’s books. Available currently are the three novels from the Neapolitan Series. The Days of Abandonment will be available from July 7th. I have the release dates for three more audiobooks by Ferrante marked in my calendar (if you too are a fan of Elena Ferrante the dates are available on the Blackstone Audio website).

The Days of Abandonment (unabridged audiobook) • by Elena Ferrante • translated by Ann Goldstein • read by Hillary Huber • 7.6 hours • published by Blackstone Audio • 2015  • ISBN 9781504620246

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