corridor ending in a brick wallWhy is the hardest endeavor, sometimes, to listen to and obey yourself?

The voices and needs and influences of the world like to clamor and encroach and invade. If you let them, they will subsume you; they will try to destroy you. If you let them in too close, for too long, you will stop being able to hear yourself. You will forget who you are, what you like to do, and who your people are.

So seems, anyway, to be a key message of Elena Ferrante’s novel The Days of Abandonment. The narrator, after years of serving her family—and ignoring herself—comes to this stunning, even stupefying, realization:

“The channels of my senses were blocked, how long had it been since life flowed in them.”

The novel itself is stunning and stupefying, in a good way: stunningly blunt; stupefyingly vivid. From the first sentence, Ferrante drops us into the throes of an existence that, while stultified, is not over. It must go on and lift itself up and try to effect change.

Have you ever felt so blockaded emotionally that you could no longer determine what was good or sensible or pleasureful or logical or real?

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