The Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante are a series of 4 novels following the friendship between two girls in 1960’s – 70’s Naples. I’ve just finished the second novel and this passage stood out to me. This is when Elena visits Lila, her friend who married a wealthy (to them) shopkeeper when she was 16.
- Maybe the wealth we wanted as children is this, I thought: not strongboxes full of diamonds and gold coins but a bathtub, to immerse yourself in every day, to eat bread, salami, prosciutto, to have a lot of space even in the bathroom, to have a telephone, a pantry and icebox full of food, a photograph in a silver frame on the sideboard that shows you in your wedding dress – to have this entire house, with the kitchen, the bedroom, the dining room, the two balconies, and the little room where I am studying, and where, even though Lila hasn’t said so, soon, when it comes, a baby will sleep.
Keep your expenses manageable and take pleasure in the small, everyday ‘luxuries’ and appreciate them. Sounds very ‘Mustachian’ to me!
(Edited far later to add – this series is a gut-wrenching look at how poverty and lack of opportunity can thwart even the most fiercely intelligent of people. It’s an absolutely unforgettable series.)
Oh I love the sound of this passage! I must see if I can get my hands on these books. I’m currently working my way through your archives, having found this very intblog.
Once you’ve finished the books, track down the series.
Both are excellent.