A few chapters into Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and I already feel like an enraged abandonada, an Italian one at that. Rancor! Contempt! Hatred! Rage! The Red Lanterns of Rage would be proud.

I bought this brand new copy of the book in a sale bin in National Bookstore Glorietta, being sold for P99. In the past few months the store had been displaying more titles than ever, as if they were cleaning out their warehouse. I also found a copy of When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris being sold for P250. The pages are already a bit crispy, and somewhat yellow. Like the ones they used to sell in the huge Goodwill Bookstore in the early 2000’s.

I don’t know who determines these prices. Elena Ferrante might get annoyed at this and flip the sale bin over, seeing that poorly written books are being sold at their regular, exorbitant prices. National would do well to keep her out of the bookstore, except that nobody knows what she really looks like, Elena Ferrante being a pseudonym. I don’t know anything else about her, but from the quick googling I did it would seem that she is the Sia of contemporary Italian Literature.

Speaking of Sia, in 2019 I would always see a big guy with his long hair completely covering his face, walking around Robinson’s Ermita. It must be difficult walking around with a mop of hair covering his eyes, but he would always be walking confidently, never knocking off department store display tables and such. I haven’t seen him since the pandemic. I wonder what happened to him.

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