The Story of the Lost Child concludes the dazzling saga of two women, the brilliant, bookish Elena and the fiery, uncontainable Lila, who first met amid the shambles of postwar Italy. In this book, life’s great discoveries have been made; its vagaries and losses have been suffered. Through it all, the women’s friendship remains the gravitational center of their lives.
Both women once fought to escape the neighborhood in which they grew up. Elena married, moved to Florence, started a family, and published several well-received books. But now, she has returned to Naples to be with the man she has always loved. Lila, on the other hand, never succeeded in freeing herself from Naples. She has become a successful entrepreneur, but her success draws her into closer proximity with the nepotism, chauvinism, and criminal violence that infect her neighborhood. Yet, somehow, this proximity to a world she has always rejected only brings her role as unacknowledged leader of that world into relief.