THE LOST DAUGHTER by Elena Ferrante is a meditation on motherhood. When 40-something Leda decides to rent a beach house near Naples for the summer, her unaccustomed solitude leads her to meditate on her life and her daughters. Now that her daughters (both in their twenties) have grown and moved far away to Toronto, Canada, Leda wonders why she doesn’t feel devastated by their absence. Instead, she feels the opposite. How can that be?
As Leda moves around between beach house and beach, strolling through a pretty resort with its cafes and restaurants, tentatively making friends with the Napolitano families taking vacations, she continues to probe and to meditate. What emerges is a brutally honest take on motherhood.
I won’t spoil this by saying any more, but Leda does something that turns the title on its head. Four stars.