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188 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2002
If I were to start from there, from those secret emotions, perhaps I would understand better why he had gone and why I, who had always set against the occasional emotional confusion the stable order of our affections, now felt so violently the bitterness of loss, an intolerable grief, the anxiety of falling out of the web of certainties and having to relearn life without the security of knowing how to do it.Perhaps this is a book Ferrante never aspired to write and this is definitely a story Olga never wanted to live but these stories are like rippled reflections in the ocean of harsher truths that real lives are and one becomes their protagonist owing to that unpredictable stroke of destiny when our dreams never come true but our nightmares sometimes do.
I looked at him attentively. It was really true, there was no longer anything about him that could interest me. He wasn't even a fragment of the past, he was only a stain, like the print of a hand left years ago on a wall.
Hold the commas, hold the periods. It's not easy to go from the happy serenity of a romantic stroll to the chaos, to the incoherence of the world.
I had only to quiet the view inside, the thoughts, They got mixed up, they crowded in on one another, shreds of words and images, buzzing frantically, like a swarm of wasps, they gave to my gestures a brute capacity to do harm.
One April afternoon, right after lunch, my husband announced that he wanted to leave me.
I immediately pulled my mouth away from the key, it seemed to me that my face was hanging to one side like the coiled skin of an orange after the knife has begin to peel it. ...For a while I let myself sink into desperation, which would mold me thoroughly, make me metal, door panel, mechanism, like an artist who works directly on his body. Then I noticed on my left thigh, above the knee, a painful gash. A cry escaped me, I realized Ilaria had left a deep wound.
I had carried in my womb his children; I had given him children. Even if I tried to tell myself that I had given him nothing, ... Still I couldn't avoid thinking what aspects of his nature inevitably lay hidden in them. Mario would explode suddenly from inside their bones, now, over the days, over the years, in ways that were more and more visible. How much of him would I be forced to love forever, without even realizing it, simply by virtue of the fact that I loved them? What a complex, foamy mixture a couple is. Even if the relationship shatters and ends, it continues to act in secret pathways, it doesn't die, it doesn't want to die.