My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend : The Neapolitan Novels, Book One

3.87 (75,626 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

My friendship with Lila began the day we decided to go up the dark stairs that led, step after step, flight after flight, to the door of Don Achille's apartment... I waited to see if Lila would have second thoughts and turn back. I knew what she wanted to do; I had hoped that she would forget about it, but in vain. My Brilliant Friend is a ravishing, wonderfully written novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. The two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, sometimes to their own detriment, as each discovers more about who she is and suffers or delights in the throes of their intense friendship. There is a piercing honesty about Ferrante's prose that makes My Brilliant Friend a compulsively readable portrait of two young women, and also the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country. show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 128 x 198mm
  • Text Publishing Co
  • The Text Publishing Company
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 1925240002
  • 9781925240009
  • 2,289

Review quote

`The Neapolitan series is superb. You should buy it, read it, read it ten times more, lend your copy out, buy another one, rinse, repeat.' * Salient * 'Elena Ferrante: the best angry woman writer ever!' -- John Waters 'The first two Neapolitan novels [My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name]...move far from contrivance, logic or respectability to ask uncomfortable questions about how we live, how we love, how we singe an existence in a deeply flawed world that expects pretty acquiescence from its women. In all their beauty, their ugliness, their devotion and deceit, these girls enchant and repulse, like life, like our very selves.' * Sydney Morning Herald * 'Ferrante bewitches with her tiny, intricately drawn world...My Brilliant Friend journeys fearlessly into some of that murkier psychological territory, where questions of individual identity are inextricable from circumstance and the ever-changing identities of others.' * Melbourne Review * 'Ferrante's prose is deeply passionate and detailed, crafting a story of a relationship in which suffering and joy go hand-in-hand...We may never want to be 16 again, but to go back, just for a few hours, is breathtaking. At times, you will be forced to put the book down, close your eyes, and feel the past rushing in.' * Time Out Melbourne * 'A superbly perceptive, nuanced, profound portrait of friendship between two young women in Naples in the 1950s...Rich in the detail of everyday life in a poor but proud neighbourhood, unsentimental, intimate, this is a truly memorable novel.' -- Booktopia Buzz 'Ferrante's fictions are fierce, unsentimental glimpses at the way a woman is constantly under threat, her identity submerged in marriage, eclipsed by motherhood, mythologised by desire. Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you'll have some idea of how explosive these works are...In My Brilliant Friend, the reclusive Ferrante does something hard but true. It goes back to the before and by looking at it clearly, with humour and warmth and rage, loves it.' * Weekend Australian * 'Elena Ferrante will blow you away.' * Alice Sebold * 'Cinematic in the density of its detail.' * Times Literary Supplement * 'Her novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader...[A] beautiful and delicate tale of confluence and reversal.' -- James Wood * New Yorker * 'Beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein...[Ferrante] writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency.' * San Francisco Chronicle * 'Everyone should read anything with [Elena Ferrante's] name on it.' * Boston Globe * 'Gutsy and compulsively readable...One of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory...Ferrante wisely balances her memoir-like emotional authenticity with a wry sociological understanding of a society on the verge of dramatic change.' * Vogue (US) * `Read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante-the Jane Austen of Italy.' * Jeffrey Archer * 'Ferrante tackles girlhood and friendship with amazing force.' -- Gwyneth Paltrow `The best thing I've read this year, far and away...She puts most other writing at the moment in the shade.' * Richard Flanagan *show more

About Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of seven novels: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter, and the quartet of Neapolitan Novels: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. Fragments, a selection of interviews, letters and occasional writings by Ferrante, will be published in early 2016. She is one of Italy's most acclaimed authors. Ann Goldstein is an editor at the New Yorker and a recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award.show more

Rating details

75,626 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 30% (22,551)
4 40% (30,001)
3 21% (16,256)
2 6% (4,900)
1 3% (1,918)
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