ROME (AP) – Follow the money trail is an adage of investigative journalism. But can that approach reveal the identity of a globally popular author? Some fans of Elena Ferrante’s novels think that’s going too far.
Claudio Gatti, an investigative journalist for Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, claimed Sunday he has probably discovered the true name of Ferrante, who’s popular for her series of novels exploring the lifelong friendship of two girls in Naples.
Gatti wrote that real estate records and revenue and payment details involving Ferrante’s publishing house Edizioni e/o indicate that Ferrante is a Rome-based book translator named Anita Raja. His article, also published by The New York Review of Books, says the publisher refused comment.
Ferrante’s quartet series of “Neapolitan” novels has sold over 1.2 million copies collectively in the US, and sales for her books have spiked significantly following Gatti’s “unmasking” of her identity.
Many fans and writers on social media were outraged about Gatti’s probe, however, saying that it violated the author’s privacy. (She chooses to remain anonymous.)
Wait, so Elena Ferrante just a different italian woman we’ve never heard of before? woah amazing totally worth breaching her privacy for
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) October 3, 2016
I wrote about the pitiful “exposure” of Elena Ferrante https://t.co/HX51XICRp4
— Alexandra Schwartz (@Alex_Lily) October 3, 2016
Surprised at how angry I feel about @NYBooks‘ unmasking of Elena Ferrante. Esp its ‘justification’ that her success made it ‘inevitable’.
— Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes) October 2, 2016
I’ve never wondered about Elena Ferrante’s true identity. Who cares? That info doesn’t change my life. Or make her books better. Ban men.
— roxane gay (@rgay) October 2, 2016
— Maaza Mengiste (@MaazaMengiste) October 2, 2016
I feel pretty horrified by the “investigation” into Elena Ferrante’s “true identity.” What could possibly justify such an intrusion?
— Garth Greenwell (@GarthGreenwell) October 2, 2016