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My Brilliant Friend

The Neapolitan Novels: Book #1
By Elena Ferrante & Ann Goldstein
Narrated by Hillary Huber / 12 hours 37 minutes

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. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a tetralogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

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“Ferrante is a subtle subversive; the domestic, in her brilliant books, is a time bomb that ticks too loudly to ignore.”

Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

“Reading Ferrante reminded me of that child-like excitement when you can’t look up from the page, when your eyes seem to be popping from your head, when you think: I didn’t know books could do this!”

Elizabeth Strout

Reviews

“I recommend Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend as the perfect summer read. It is a fascinating novel about the childhood of two very intelligent and creative girls in a poor neighborhood in Naples before the Second World War. I loved watching their young friendship develop; their lives are fraught with extreme physicality and filled with emotional intensity. It’s beautifully written and I can’t wait to read the two sequels that chronicle the girls in their later years.”

Dina Hoffman, Bookshop Santa Cruz

About the Author

Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. She is the author of The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. Her Neapolitan novels include My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of The Lost Child, fourth and final volume in the series.


Related Reading

NPR Review

Who Is Elena Ferrante?
New York Times

The Neapolitan Novels

Book of the Month: My Brilliant Friend

Author &
Narrator Hillary Huber
ISBN 9781483080703
Length 12 hours 37 minutes
Language English
Publisher Blackstone Audio
Publication Date
Abridged No
 
She took the facts and in a natural way charged them with tension; she intensified reality as she reduced it to words, she injected it with energy. My river of words and her silence seemed to demonstrate that my life was splendid but uneventful, which left me time to write to her every day, while hers was dark but full. Her quickness of mind was like a hiss, a dart, a lethal bite. And there was nothing in her appearance that acted as a corrective. There was something unbearable in the things, in the people, in the buildings, in the streets that, only if you reinvented it all, as in a game, became acceptable. Children don’t know the meaning of yesterday, of the day before yesterday, or even of tomorrow, everything is this, now: the street is this, the doorway is this, the stairs are this, this is Mamma, this is Papa, this is the day, this the night.

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