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My Brilliant Friend: The Neapolitan Novels, Book One by [Ferrante, Elena]
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My Brilliant Friend: The Neapolitan Novels, Book One Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Length: 331 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

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.

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.

‘The best thing I’ve read this year, far and away…She puts most other writing at the moment in the shade.’ Richard Flanagan

‘Ferrante tackles girlhood and friendship with amazing force.’ Gwyneth Paltrow

‘Read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante—the Jane Austen of Italy.’ Jeffrey Archer

'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)

'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

'Cinematic in the density of its detail.' Times Literary Supplement

'Elena Ferrante will blow you away.' Alice Sebold

'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.' Weekend Australian

'My Brilliant Friend is an engaging read, well translated from Italian, giving a vivid account of life in a poor suburb of Naples in the late 1950s...There is a lot more to find out about this interesting pair.' Otago Daily Times

'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

'If you haven't read Elena Ferrante, it's like not having read Flaubert in 1856...Incontrovertibly brilliant.' Anne Meadows, editor of Granta

'The Neapolitan novels are smart, thoughtful, serious literature. At the same time, they are violent, suspenseful soap operas populated with a vivid cast of scheming characters...Ferrante’s novels are deeply personal and intimate, getting to the very heart of what it means to be a woman, a friend, a daughter, a mother.’ Debrief Daily

‘Once I succumbed, I was hooked. Ferrante has a gift for drawing out the complexities of human relationships.’ The Blurb 


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1505 KB
  • Print Length: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Text Publishing (24 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CTI159G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #485 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to buy this book as everyone kept referencing it. Interestingly, it has taken me over a month to ready the series, while I've finished many other books in between. It is such an intense read that you have to be in the right mindset. That being said, it is vibrant, transportive and thoroughly original.
MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is the first entry in a trilogy which is set in the slums of Naples, it focuses on two strong, observant, vividly intelligent girls - best friends - as they grow into womanhood. Elena, the narrator, is gifted and hardworking, and begins to pull herself out of poverty through education. Her best friend, Lila, is ferociously talented, but her parents remove her from school at a young age. This first book follows the two through childhood and adolescence, where their paths begin to diverge. But the series is really one giant book, with no firm stopping places, so don't be surprised when this one feels incomplete on its own.
There's a story about friendship here, but there's also a great deal more - it's a story of a time of violent social upheaval in Italy, a story of women finding themselves in a man's world, a story about class and education and the ways growing up in poverty shape one's identity. They are wonderfully smart books that pull you into the story. Definitely recommended to those who enjoy literary or historical fiction, stories about women's lives or female friendship, or simply discovering new and exciting books.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What a cover - you just want to open it and follow the just marrieds into their new lives. And those three little dolls following on behind! You won't get that on a Kindle. Anyway there is a lot of hoopla surrounding this novel, book one of the Neapolitan novels, and hoopla also around the very mysterious and reclusive author.

It's a marvellous story - two small girls who meet and become best friends in a poor rundown neighbourhood in Naples in the 1950s. Book one focuses on the ten years from roughly six years of age to sixteen years. Life is tough for these families, eking out existences as shoemakers, carpenters, porters, bakers, shop owners. Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo are the stars of the story, both intelligent and clever girls, Lila being particularly gifted. There is a lot to navigate in their small communities - desire for an education beyond primary school, other children, rivalries, family problems, young love. All the usual stuff children and young people have to deal with, but in this case set against the hard life of the poor streets of post war Naples. Not easy.

It is a good story, and I am looking forward to reading book two, but I did not find it an easy book to read. It took considerably longer than I would have thought to finish it, and it is a bit of slow burner with the second half considerably more riveting than the first. I wasn't expecting it to be chick lit, but I did think it would be easier to read than I found it. Still, roll on book two! Now that the girls are sixteen what does life have laid out for them?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did enjoy this book very much.I haven't rushed to get the next in the series but I will . The tale really got you in and the characters wrapped themselves around your heart.I would recommend this book to a friend.
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Having read all four books in the Neapolitan Series, I am going to apply this review to all of them. Such excellent writing and the content so confronting and informative, I couldn't wait to continue reading. Life in Naples during more difficult times and changing times, portrayed in such a unique style. I loved these books.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I absolutely got caught up in this novel set in the working class back streets of 1950s Naples. Narrated by Elena, a girl whose parents grudgingly allowed her to pursue her education, she remembers her childhood and teen years, always in the company of sparkling, sharp, unpredictable Lila. From youthful adventures, running away from home, climbing up the stairs of the local much-feared Mafioso, through to adolescence, when their ways diverge when the intelligent Lila is forced to quit school.
And then come romance and plans for the future, always against a backdrop of feuds and violence, protective parents and older brothers, madness and love. And the semi-jealousy that besets the narrator - is Lila's life turning out more successful than her own?
As the end of this volume comes, you just want to know what happened next. Have ordered the other volumes from library already!
Great read and emphatically not soppy chick-lit - the author brings the characters' feelings and personalities to life.
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My BrillIant Friend is the first of four novels known as the Neopolitan Novels. it could be dismissed as old fashioned women's magazine as it follows the lives of a group of young people who come from an impoverished part of Naples. Education is a necessity if one wants to escape drudgery, and there are many psychological, familial and social obstacles. Sometimes the telling drags. Nevertheless, Ferrante's understanding of the intricate relationships and multiple interdependencies redeems the novel about poor girls and boys. Her persistent exploration of the obstacles that are part of the fabric of this particular social milieu is exemplary.
My BrillIant Friend i s an explosive effort to show the layers of behaviour that limit people. Will power has to be a constant companion to develop one's self.
As a bildungsroman, it is about many of us, not only the voluble and feisty neopolitan characters of the novel.
I have decided to read all four of the Neopolitan Novels
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