My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Book - 2012
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Soon to be an HBO series, book one in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic by Italy's most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante, "one of the great novelists of our time." (Roxana Robinson, The New York Times )

Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante's four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence.

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.

"An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends," writes Entertainment Weekly . "Spectacular," says Maureen Corrigan on NPR 's Fresh Air. "A large, captivating, amiably peopled bildungsroman," writes James Wood in The New Yorker

Ferrante is one of the world's great storytellers. With My Brilliant Friend she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.
Publisher: New York : Europa Editions, 2012.
ISBN: 9781609450786
1609450787
Characteristics: 331 p. ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-

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mko123 Nov 22, 2017

The first line pulls you into an intricate, many-layered, love/hate friendship that takes place in a gritty, working-class neighborhood. Do we ever really know someone? More importantly, how well do we even know ourselves?

n
NanCcan
Sep 06, 2016

I suppose this series has merit because it is an expose on how children are raised in this particular culture, but I find it extremely depressing that no one appreciates Elena's talents and sincerity - to the extent that she can never, ever, no matter how hard she works, appreciate her own accomplishments or thoughts. Am I naive in thinking that nearly all parents would express some pride in and encouragement to their children? Perhaps learning just how socially-conscious (to the detriment of their children) people can be in this culture is the reason I am reading these books. I won't hold it against all Italians; this seems to be just this small town.
Complicated cast of characters (although the list of them at the front of the book helps a bit . . . if only there weren't so many whose names begin with the same letter).
The writing is a bit choppy for my tastes; it doesn't flow.

m
mdjamali
Jul 21, 2015

could not put the series down. paints the intricacies of a lifelong female friendship.

helengunnar Jul 05, 2014

Phenomenally well written. Can't wait to read the final volume in this Neapolitan Trilogy.

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