Elena Ferrante’s novels are often dubbed “intimate.” Meghan O’Rourke writes in The Guardian, “As fiction, they are both deeply realist and surprisingly intimate.” The LA Times notes that one novel in particular “is as expansive and broad as it is intimate.” It seems as though people do not want to believe that fiction can be intimate—that is: detailed, personal, private, sacred, something with which readers feel closely acquainted or familiar. It is especially surprising if it is also broad, and that one book can accomplish both apparently astounds reviewers.
Why is this so astounding? What is so intimate about the novels of Elena Ferrante? What is intimacy in literature, anyway? Stacey D’Erasmo asks similar questions in The Art of Intimacy: “What is the nature of intimacy, of what happens in the space between us? And how do we, as writers, catch or reflect it on the page?”
Read the rest of this post on Ploughshares: http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/on-intimacy-elena-ferrante-stacey-derasmo/