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Doubling, inversion of past and present, and the intensity of obsession, are all products of the particular length of the novella. A short story doesn’t have the space to delve into all of these traits, while a longer novel may dilute their effects. In The Lost Daughter, Elena Ferrante feverishly probes these traits over the course of a taut 140-page novella, a form that calls to mind a line being cast into a lake; you can make out its arc, but its end is submerged.

"Dark Fantasies: Desire, Obsession,

and the Shattered Present

in Elena Ferrante's The Lost Daughter"

BIG FICTION