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My brilliant Friend by Elean Ferrante

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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Published by Europa in 2012

My Brilliant Friend is the first in a series of books, known as the Neapolitan novels, that tell the story of the lifelong friendship between two characters Elena and Lila. Beginning in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples, the girls are close friends but also rivals as the narrator Elena lives in the shadow of the more intelligent, more beautiful and more reckless Lila. Growing up on these tough streets the girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else and as they grow their paths repeatedly diverge and converge. Through the lives of these two women Ferrante also tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country, powerfully expressing the class distinctions, the role of women and the dynamics of power in the community.

‘There is a savage honesty to the work of Elena Ferrante that is both unsettling and comforting at once. Here is an author who has poured every ounce of herself onto the page.’ The Irish Times

‘These feminist novels are the best modern portrait of a female friendship I've come across in literature.’ Adam Freudenheim The Guardian

‘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.’ London Review Bookshop

Elena Ferrante was born in Naples but remains largely unknown. In a written interview she said
‘I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t. . . .’

Other books in the Neapolitan series
The Story of a New Name
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
The Story of the Lost Child