Ferrante the Anti-Lyrical

It is a fault of booksellers everywhere, I think, to feel like the proud parents of books we have championed, even though we are only the merchandisers and not the creators. I am especially guilty in this regard, so at first I took umbrage when I received a note from a friend in Virginia thanking me for turning him on to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but then adding, “If I have a small complaint, it is that her prose doesn't create envy in me.