Fiction · Series · Theresa F · Translated Work

My Brilliant Friend | by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante; translated by Ann Goldstein
(Europa Editions, 2012, 331 pages)

This is the first in the four part Neapolitan Novels series and covers the childhood and early adolescence of the two main characters Elena and Lila. I liked it quite a bit and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series but I’m not rushing out to get it which I feel says something about my attitude towards it. The relationship between the two girls is very authentic and that was the most interesting part to read. Even when they were apart they were affected by each other which should seem familiar to anyone who has experienced an intense childhood friendship.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.” – Amazon.com

 

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