Book of the Week
Only Elena succeeds. In the second installment, The Story of a New Name, she starts to forge her own identity, receiving recognition for her writing and meeting her husband-to-be, a brilliant student from a worldly family. Lila, who has stayed behind, finds herself working as a common laborer.
But in this third book the fulcrum shifts. Elena begins to feel wobbly and undefined and questions her own notion of success. She is tortured by the idea that Lila is more real, more worthy than she is. Yet she feels that she can never be fully herself until she is freed of the need for her friend's approval. She imagines Lila's resentment of her achievements, even though Lila encouraged her to leave Naples for both of them.These novels are thrilling in the way they probe how a childhood attachment can live on to shape, twist, and threaten to destroy us, even as our paths and personalities diverge. There is no escape. As Elena prepares to break from the life she's known, Lila is there to warn, or haunt, her: "You're a fool."