In this and in other works, Ferrante reminds us what a gift anonymity can be to the reader. How refreshing to access words without fighting through the obscuring fog of a 'brand' ... For those who wish to burrow gopher-like into the author’s mind, Ferrante has prepared a tunnel ... As much as In the Margins, is a philosophical monograph on the nature of writing, it is also a practical manual. Ferrante furnishes tips. She doesn’t present them as such — there’s no prescription, only an outline of what she’s learned and how it’s helped her (and by implication, how it might help anyone else).
... this collection of Ferrante’s lectures cannot be timelier in introducing Ferrante’s ideas and literary practices to a larger, global audience outside her immediate Italian-speaking following ... Ferrante takes readers on a journey of discovery of writing practices. She coheres the realms of life and literature to assiduously pursue answers to questions that female writers might have, on how to blaze a trail of success in the patrilineal literary world ... Ferrante does not give away definitive rules on how to write well, but she makes her definitive view on writing clear ... Ann Goldstein’s translation of this collection of essays, for the most part, is also fluid and clear, emulating the familiar voice Ferrante’s English-language readers have become familiar with. The seamless collaboration between author and translator is an unmistakable triumph, and readers are surely hoping for more novels by Ferrante, translations by Goldstein, and adaptations on the silver screen to follow from this exceptionally fruitful and longstanding relationship.
The lucid, well-formed essays that make up In the Margins are written in an equally captivating voice ... Although a slim collection, there is more than enough meat here to nourish both the common reader and the Ferrante aficionado ... Every essay here is a blend of deep thought, rigorous analysis and graceful prose. We occasionally get the odd glimpse of the author...but mainly the focus is on the nuts and bolts of writing and Ferrante's practice of her craft. The essays are at their most rewarding when Ferrante discusses the origins of her books, in particular the celebrated Neapolitan Novels, and the multifaceted heroines that power them ... These essays might not bring us any closer to finding out who Ferrante really is. Instead, though, they provide valuable insight into how she developed as a writer and how she works her magic.