My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Paperback - 2016
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Premiering October 2018 as 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, N.Y. : Europa Editions, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781609450786
Characteristics: 331 pages ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-- Translator

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v
vrlocke
Nov 28, 2017

I didn't care for this book at all. I stuck it out for the whole thing and was just glad to be finished. Couldn't find anything about ANY of the characters that drew me in or made me care for them or what happened next.

t
tegan
Sep 29, 2017

I don't get the hype. 50 pages was enough for me.

Bunny_Watson716 Jul 12, 2017

I am so glad I read this book - I loved the complex account of the friendship between the two girls, the post WW2 Italy setting, and the denseness of Ferrante's writing. I can't wait to read the next book out of the four Neapolitan novels. Not a light summer read but very absorbing and memorable characters.

c
cknightkc
Mar 08, 2017

It’s been a couple days since I finished MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, and honestly I felt I had to allow myself some time for reflection before commenting. Keeping in mind the many fans of author Elena Ferrante and the glowing reviews this novel has received, I wondered: Were my initial reactions to this book faulty? Did I miss something? Sadly, after careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusions: No, they weren’t and no, I didn’t. MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is neither a quick nor easy read so I would not advise starting it unless you have plenty of time and patience.

AL_TATYANA Feb 03, 2017

Love this book immensely! Didn't want to put it aside.
This is book One of the Neapolitan series by Ferrante, a brilliant novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The 1st person narrative helps to penetrate in the inner world of the main characters. Ferrante creates memorable portraits of the two main characters as well as of the Italian community of that time, Italy after WWII.

n
njon38
Jan 05, 2017

Read all four of the Neapolitan series by Ferrante. Her character is about ten years older than I am, therefore the I could empathetically trace her arc from childhood to university to motherhood and beyond which are described through the lens 2nd wave feminism. The violent poverty, the harshness of the Italian patriarchy, the naivety of the radical university students striving for a better society, the quest to find a space for work in the midst of the demands of motherhood are themes all thoughtfully rendered.

9
976Jackson
Oct 05, 2016

Unbelievably boring - not sure what all the hype is about. Just a rambling tale of kids - the main one not particularly nice!!

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.

AL_ALISON Aug 05, 2016

This story is about friendship and childhood in Naples in the 1950s. But there is nothing fluffy about this portrayal. Life is hard and full of danger for these young girls. A must read because this book is like nothing else!

l
lorraine_on_rodney
Jul 01, 2016

an OK read - I expected better based on all the glowing reviews I've read/heard.

For me, the 2 friends were not very engaging - one was actually unlikeable, the other struck me as too intellectually precocious to be real, especially given the time and place - Naples in the 1950's. Beyond that, there were so many of their friends and neighbors to keep track of that I had to resort regularly to the list of characters provided at the front of the book. I won't be continuing with the subsequent books unless I find them on a deserted island where I'm stuck.

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cknightkc
Mar 08, 2017

“Her quickness of mind was like a hiss, a dart, a lethal bite.” - p. 48

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