The Pequod Review:
Days of Abandonment is a tragic and unsettling novel about a 38-year-old wife and mother (Olga) whose life unravels when her husband leaves her. Ferrante is simply an extraordinary writer; here is how she describes the moment:
One April afternoon, right after lunch, my husband announced that he wanted to leave me. He did it while we were clearing the table; the children were quarreling as usual in the next room, the dog was dreaming, growling beside the radiator. He told me that he was confused, that he was having terrible moments of weariness, of dissatisfaction, perhaps of cowardice. He talked for a long time about our fifteen years of marriage, about the children, and he admitted he had nothing to reproach with us, neither them nor me. He was composed, as always, apart from an extravagant gesture of his right hand when he explained to me, with a childish frown, that soft voices, a sort of whispering, were urging him elsewhere. Then he assumed the blame for everything that was happening and closed the front door carefully behind him, leaving me turned to stone beside the sink.
The break-up comprehensively devastates Olga, as she tries to analyze where things went wrong, has an ill-advised affair, and mistreats her children and even the dog. Ferrante captures Olga’s desperation so well that the book makes for an uncomfortable and heart-breaking read.