I'm still reading Ferrante's story of the new last name. The middle part is sagging a bit, without as much narrative energy or forward momentum. Lila [known before in the novel as Lina] gets pregnant and then has a miscarriage. Lenu, the narrator, is invited by her teacher for a party, and brings Lila with her. Lila feels humiliated because she is not the center of attention and is less educated than anyone else. In the car ride back home she tries to humiliate Lenu, who has had the best day of her life. Lenu's true love, Nino, was there, with his girlfriend, who is the daughter of the teacher. Lenu is now working in a bookstore, and thinks her real friends should the better-educated people associated with her teacher. There is some satire about the intellectual discourse about world peace and the threat of the atom bomb. Lila is smarter and richer, and more beautiful, than Lenu [Elena], but Lila only has grammar school education and is married to an abusive man.
There is a wedding, with some disturbing events, in the family of Stefano. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, without much characterization to make you care about them. The novel is pedestrian and brilliant by turns. My attention also waxes and wanes, as well as my comprehension of the Italian. I don't really care about who gets to run which salami or shoe store.
Lila is supposed to design some new shoes, but is uninspired. She entrusts this task to her brother. If the shoes are a failure, she will take the blame. If the designs are brilliant, the brother will take credit. Apparently, she was a brilliant designer of shoe at the age of 12.