When Olga, the protagonist of Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment, is first confronted with her husband Mario’s announcement that he’s leaving, she reacts to his “merciless rationality” with composure. We assume, as she assumes, that she loved him. The initial shock of reading about the days of Olga’s abandonment is a feeling that settles, over the course of the book, into a kind of pleasure.Read more.
The Days of Abandonment
Olga’s husband Mario has just left her and her two young children for a younger woman, with zero warning. Over the next two days, her world falls apart: a sick child and a misbehaving dog derail her sanity completely, and she becomes literally trapped in her apartment. A sense of outsized dread and terror builds with each sentence, making the book impossible to put down til the final page. Olga’s interiority is so skillfully rendered as to be horribly familiar to anyone who’s ever been devastated by loss and grief. So, well, not our most lighthearted pick, but a perversely enjoyable read nonetheless and an overdue introduction (for us, at least!) to this great author’s work.