Monday, February 22, 2016

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

This is a novel rich in images, focused on two girls growing up in a working class section of Naples in the 1950's. Their friendship is hard-won, but true. The interactions with family members and with other characters who inhabit that neighborhood captured me. If you're wanting a fast-paced action novel, look elsewhere. This has the rhythms and feel of the novels I studied at university, the story unspooling and reweaving slowly on its loom. It starts with a bit of a mystery (one of the girls, now a middle aged woman has gone missing) and the other travels back through time and memory to their girlhoods. As I understand it, the other Neapolitan Novels cover different periods in their lives. I'll keep reading, not just for the beauty of the language (even translated into English) but to find out which of the two girls is the brilliant friend. My opinion kept switching.

I've also heard that there is a bit of a debate about who Elen Ferrante really is. The novel was pretty much dismissed by the Italian Literary world, but became a runaway favorite with the rest of the world when it was translated.

Tags:  read-on-recommendation, will-look-for-more-by-this-author, thank-you-charleston-county-library, 2016-read, didn-t-want-to-put-it-down, made-me-think, translated

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