Piqued by a friend’s enthusiasm for Elena Ferrante, I decided to check THE DAYS OF ABANDONMENT out of the library. It swallowed me whole over a short series of interstitial times: bus rides, walks between office and lunch, bus stop and home, home and dinner, and then the final thirty pages on the sofa. I was put in mind of Houellebecq. They share a deceptive transparency of prose, fluid and crude; a kind of exaggerated consciousness of gender; and a pervasive misanthropy which turns an obsession with sex astringent, hollow, somehow without desire. But Houellebecq is plainly horrible – sounding haunting notes despite his horrible self – while Ferrante… Ferrante is something else, I can’t decide yet. I will have to read more.