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Elena Ferrante - My Brilliant Friend


Italy - It always evokes a warm nostalgic feeling whenever it comes to mind. When I think about Italy, I reminisce about the places I visited there; Rome, Milan & Capri, and of course - how could I forget the absolutely delectable Food – to describe all of which would take too long as there are too many to list!

When I came across the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan series, which comprises of four Novels, in a charity shop costing only £1.50 each, I could never have imagined just how mesmerising and immersive I would find this series.

Front cover of My Brilliant Friend Book
Front cover of My Brilliant Friend Book

The Author of the series is Elena Ferrante who was born in Naples. They are period pieces & the story begins in the 1930's where the author extends to us the invitation through the first book, My Brilliant Friend, to delve into the lives and loves of two girls, Lila and Elena, who live in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples.

The two girls meet at School, and from the beginning of My Brilliant Friend and throughout all four novels we get a wide lens honest view, not only of the two girls’ relationship as they grow into Adulthood, but of their immediate families and others who live in the neighbourhood and play a dominant role in shaping their paths.

The novels have been turned into a drama series and I enjoyed watching the first two series during the lockdown and I am currently watching the third. I was nervous that the TV depiction was going to be far removed from the Novels, however I need not have worried - the intensity and captivating nature of the characters had not been lost.

Rione Luzzatti - the area where friends Lila and Elena grew up

The novels took me back to the memories I have of those days when I was building friendships in the school playground. When our paths cross – not so often now due to living in different locations, it reminds me that there is something unique about memories that are created at an early age.

What books have you read that transport you back to a different time & place in your life?


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