My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Paperback - 2016
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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. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Europa Editions, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781609450786
1609450787
Characteristics: 331 pages ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Goldstein, Ann 1949-- Translator

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Featured Blogs and Events

For Fans of Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend Readalikes

I just finished listening to the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante on Overdrive. I will admit, I’m a little late to the party. This anonymous Italian author took America by storm when her first book in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was translated into English by Ann Goldstein in 2012. This month, the book became an HBO show, premiering on November 18th. Do you have "Ferrante Fever"? You… (more)

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Don't let the massive number of devoted Elena Ferrante fans fool you.   In the already small percentage of works in translation released to American readers each year, the portion of those works written by a female author is even smaller. Which means that we're missing out on a world of good writing. That's why this month, many readers are observing Women in Translation Month (#WiTmonth on Tw… (more)


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SPL_Brittany Jan 20, 2019

I had really high hopes for this book given how enthusiatic the reviews were for this series. This novel is told in a leisurely pace, perhaps to allow you to get to really know the characters as the reader follows their journey. Ferrante writes a character driven novel where you really felt that you got to know each character and their relationships with each other in the close knit Italian district. If you like novels that focus on small towns and their dynamics, this novel fits the bill. Also, the author does a great job of creating a sense of place, where Italy becomes a second character, you can feel the grit and struggle of the people in this small district of Naples, and feel that if you were dropped into the novel, you would be familiar with its landscape. However, despite my enjoyment of these two qualities of her novel, it wasn't the book choice for me, the pace was too slow, and I couldn't connect to any of the characters.

There is much room for discussion in terms of relationships between the characters and the choices they make as the age, so I can see this being popular with book clubs. I don't know if I will continue reading the series, however I am interested in seeing how it translates on television.

s
singidunum_25
Nov 15, 2018

HBO adaptation of this book is really, really good and in my opinion better than book itself. Even though I gave up on reading after the first book in series, I am more drawn to it after brilliant visual adaptation.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/11/on-the-set-of-elena-ferrante-my-brilliant-friend-tv-adaptation
https://www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-elena-ferrante-interview-20180517-htmlstory.html

m
m0mmyl00
Feb 10, 2018

Lila and Elena are elementary school friends in a rough Naples neighborhood just after WWII. Elena is a good girl; does as she’s told and makes high marks in school. Lila is a bit darker. She dares to disobey and even disrespect, and worries not a whit about the repercussions. She takes on bullies and befriends boys with unsavory intentions. Elena idolizes her. Both girls are smart and hungry for education, doubly unfortunate in an era and area with little to offer ambitious girls (at least those with ambitions other than marrying a step up). Elena is championed by a teacher, who insists to her parents that she be allowed to continue school. Lila’s family circumstances, and the lack of a teacher willing to go to bat for her, does not go on past elementary school, but she teaches herself Latin, Greek, and literature, and fans Elena’s intellectual ambitions with her own curiosity and determination and insights. The divergence in the paths laid out for the two girls is profound. Ferrante’s writing is intimate and unembellished; a joy to experience.

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.

ArapahoeTatyana 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!!

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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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