Jour­nal­ist de­fends ex­pose of au­thor Elena Fer­rante

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - Photos and text from wire ser­vices

ROME » The Ital­ian jour­nal­ist who claims to have ex­posed the iden­tity of best-sell­ing au­thor Elena Fer­rante de­fended his in­ves­ti­ga­tion Fri­day as hav­ing de­bunked “lies” about Fer­rante’s back­ground and con­trib­uted to knowl­edge about her work.

Clau­dio Gatti, an in­ves­tiga­tive reporter with Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore busi­ness daily, said he didn’t solve any real mys­tery since Fer­rante’s true iden­tity was an open se­cret within Italy’s lit­er­ary cir­cles.

“All I did was ex­pose a lie,” he said: “I used the only thing that works: Fol­low the money.”

Gatti’s ex­pose ap­peared in Il Sole, the New York Re­view of Books and French and Ger­man pub­li­ca­tions Sun­day, spark­ing im­me­di­ate crit­i­cism from Fer­rante fans and fel­low writ­ers that he had in­vaded the au­thor’s pri­vacy. Nei­ther the au­thor nor the pub­lisher has con­firmed or de­nied the story.

Gatti con­cluded that Fer­rante is a Rome-based trans­la­tor of Ger­man by trac­ing her salary with rev­enue from her pub­lisher, Edizione E/0, and real es­tate records. Gatti pieced to­gether the au­thor’s per­sonal his­tory through his­tor­i­cal archives, dis­cov­er­ing that her mother was a Holo­caust sur­vivor who fled Nazi Ger­many for Italy only to have to flee to Switzer­land when Fas­cist dic­ta­tor Ben­ito Mus­solini im­posed racial laws on Jews. The mother mar­ried a Neapoli­tan mag­is­trate and set­tled in Rome, where the au­thor grew up.

Fer­rante’s quar­tet of nov­els about the life­long friend­ship of two girls who grew up poor in post-war Naples has won fans around the world.

Speak­ing Fri­day at the For­eign Press As­so­ci­a­tion, Gatti said his in­ves­ti­ga­tion merely de­bunked the story that Fer­rante and her pub­lish­ers had sown over the years, es­pe­cially in the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal book “Fran­tu­maglia: A Writer’s Jour­ney.” The nar­ra­tive is that Fer­rante grew up poor in Naples, one of four daugh­ters of a seam­stress, with no men­tion of the Holo­caust.

Gatti, who said he loved the nov­els when he read them all in a row two years ago, said he didn’t set out to at­tack Fer­rante but merely to un­der­stand who she was.

Ital­ian jour­nal­ist Clau­dio Gatti of the Ital­ian fi­nan­cial daily Il Sole 24 Ore speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the For­eign Press As­so­ci­a­tion in Rome Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.