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This week at The Paris ReviewWe reflect on friendship with its many complexities and joys. Read on for Elena Ferrante’s Art of Fiction interview, Ayşegül Savaş’s short story “Layover” and Jana Prikryl’s poem “Friend”.
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Elena Ferrante, The Art of Fiction No. 228
Issue No. 212 (Spring 2015)
The Neapolitan novels didn’t have to prevail in history like the other stories frantumaglia. From the beginning I had a completely new feeling that everything was already there. Maybe that was the result of connecting with The prodigal daughter. There, for example, the figure of Nina, the young mother who fascinates Leda, was already the focus.
But it seems pointless to make a list of the more or less conscious connections that I see between my books. The theme of female friendship certainly has something to do with a childhood friend that I talked about some time ago in the Corriere della Seraa few years after her death. This is the first written trace of Lila’s and Elena’s friendship. And then I have a small private gallery – fortunately unpublished stories – of uncontrollable girls and women who are brave yet tired and oppressed by their men, their surroundings, and always one step away from disappearing in their minds frantumaglia. They converge in the character of Amalia, the mother in Troubling love– who shares many traits with Lila when I think about it, including a lack of boundaries.
From Ayşegül Savaş
Issue No. 234 (Fall 2020)
Lara was supposed to have breakfast with Selin, a middle school friend who had a long stay in Paris. It was eight-thirty and Lara was frustrated not having the morning to herself before she started teaching in the afternoon. She loved the early, luxurious hours when she was free to do whatever she wanted, which often meant making coffee and going back to bed to read.
She hadn’t seen Selin in more than fifteen years, although they’d kept in touch a little on Facebook. Selin would sometimes write out of the blue after remembering an episode from her school years or to ask how Lara was doing. Lara had moved to Boston University, then New York, before coming to France. Selin would write that she dreamed of visiting Lara in these places.
Lara did not see Selin when she returned to Istanbul. Her trips were short, barely enough time to see her parents and closest friends. Still, she had kept an eye on the general shape of Selin’s life: she was still living in Istanbul; She had a friend who looked like her with a thick head of hair and a cartoonish smile. She posted photos of her craft, which received enthusiastic comments from other artisans.
By Jana Prikryl
Issue No. 225 (Summer 2018)
Montaigne was right without the interfering love of the body
is more exciting.
But from the beginning in elementary school what she did
that was far
of irrelevant, her jeans, mascara, everything rings
And she was always so pretty. Claire Birchall from
the yellow hair,
The twins at my birthday party came out and told me
I was unfair
for playing with anyone but her. I said i’m sorry.
I didn’t care …
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