My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Book - 2012
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Now 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-
Alternative Title: Amica geniale

Opinion

From Library Staff

Translated from the Italian. This rich, intense, and generous-hearted story gives a meticulous portrait of two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

Translated from the Italian. This rich, intense, and generous-hearted story gives a meticulous portrait of two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.


From the critics


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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

s
spudwil
Aug 10, 2018

I’ve given up trying to finish this book. I had high expectations due to all the positive reviews but I get so confused with all the characters that I’m never entirely sure who’s who. Usually I love the book club selections but not this time.

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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I feel no nostalgia for our childhood: it was full of violence. Every sort of thing happened, at home and outside, every day, but I don t recall having ever thought that the life we had there was particularly bad. Life was like that, that’s all, we grew up with the duty to make it difficult for others before they made it difficult for us. Of course, I would have liked the nice manners that the teacher and the priest preached, but I felt that those ways were not suited to our neighborhood, even if you were a girl. The women fought among themselves more than the men, they pulled each other’s hair, they hurt each other. To cause pain was a disease.

c
cknightkc
Mar 08, 2017

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

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