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15 Sep 2:00am

Elena Ferrante: ‘I have never given an interview, but journalists have helped me make sense of my life’

The Guardian
Against the face-to-face encounter, I have preferred – because of my own limitations – a written correspondence I am not very good at speaking, in public or private. If it’s a matter of recounting facts, I manage more or less to bring them to a conclusion. But if I have to explain my reasoning, argue rigorously, I get agitated, confused – everything seems to fly out of my head. Things go badly in particular if I’m dealing with people who I think have some authority. I have everything clear in my mind to start with, and yet it’s as if, after a few words, something gives way. I lose faith in what I wanted to say, the taut thread of the argument I had in mind breaks, I keep repeating: “I’m sorry, but I can’t explain.” On the very rare occasions when I have had to speak in public, I spent days preparing a text. I memorised it, so as to give the impression of speaking spontaneously; but I ended up reading it line for line and, naturally, boring the audience, who prefer speakers who improvise and know how to stir the emotions, how to entertain.
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