Evocative . Highly Recommended
- Book: My Brilliant Friend
- Location: Naples
- Author: Elena Ferrante
My best friend recommended I read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet and as always she was spot on.
This first novel takes us deep into the slums of Naples, as the two main characters experience girlhood, the confusions of the local school, adults and the terrifying Don Achille.
Through it all runs a golden thread of the relationship between the two girls as the narrator sees her friend struggle and shine in her own way.
The adults are depicted without emotion, the author using vignettes to evoke who they are without judgement. It is quite difficult to keep track of everyone and there is a list of families and characters at the front.
I would love to explore the Naples of My Beautiful Friend, the neighbourhood and the beach that Lenu escapes to. The book reminded me a little of Joyce’s Dubliners in its’ richness, although the language is much simpler (this is a translation so possibly in the Italian this is different.)