"To write, you have to want something to survive you. I don't even have the desires to live, I've never had it strongly the way you have. If I could eliminate myself now, while we're speaking, I'd be more than happy. Imagine if I'm going to start writing."— from The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante.
She had often expressed that idea of eliminating herself, but, starting in the late nineties — and especially from 2000 on — it became a sort of teasing chorus. It was a metaphor, of course. She liked it, she had resorted to it in the most diverse circumstances, and it never occurred to me, in the many years of our friendship — not even in the most terrible moments following Tina's disappearance — that she would think of suicide. Eliminating herself was a sort of aesthetic project. One can't go on anymore, she said, electronics seems so clean and yet it dirties, dirties tremendously, and it obliges you to leave traces of yourself everywhere as if you were shitting and peeing on yourself continuously: I want to leave nothing, my favorite key is the one that deletes.
The Paris Review, Elena Ferrante, Art of Fiction No. 228:
Literary truth is not the truth of the biographer or the reporter, it’s not a police report or a sentence handed down by a court. It's not even the plausibility of a well-constructed narrative. Literary truth is entirely a matter of wording and is directly proportional to the energy that one is able to impress on the sentence. And when it works, there is no stereotype or cliché of popular literature that resists it. It reanimates, revives, subjects everything to its needs.
Even the stones know that Ferrante is Ferrante, and that's the way her readers want it. More than Ferrante herself, her readers have benefited from her choice, spared so much extradiegetic noise. We are as invested in her anonymity — and her autonomy — as she is. It is a compact: she won't tell us, we won't ask, and she won't change her mind and tell us anyway. In exchange, she'll write books and we'll read them. The feminist defense of Ferrante's privacy was especially swift. It's difficult to read a man's attempt to "out" a writer who has said she would stop writing if she were ever identified as anything but an attempt to make her stop writing.
New Republic, Leave Elena Ferrante Alone:
No one tells Banksy he has to reveal himself or we’ll all assume he’s a women’s collective.