All posts filed under: italy

my brilliant friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: Around the World in Books

I am trying to read a book from every country in the world. The last book I read was Nigeria: Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  IN SHORT: This is the story of two best friends, Elena and Lila, growing up in 1950s Naples. It is the first of four books — or as Ferrante (a pseudonym has said), the first of four volumes in a single book. THE BEST BIT: What a singular book. The precision of its prose is tremendous — but it is more than that, it is something about the way the narrator, Elena (not accidentally, the same name as the author) describes her young life in Naples: It is bursting with sentiment — in the sense of regret, love, ambition, frustration — and utterly without sentiment: We see things, conveyed and dismissed in the space of a handful of paragraphs, that would suffice as the sole focus of another book — for example, when Lila’s father literally throws her out the window of their home into the street. I began to think …