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My Brilliant Friend
Cover of My Brilliant Friend
My Brilliant Friend
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The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets 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.
The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets 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.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 27, 2012
    The world of Elena and Lila, Neapolitan girls growing up after the Second World War, is small, casually violent, and confined to their poor neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and the few prosperous families dominate. There are rules and expectations, and everyone knows and lives by them. Except Lila: smarter and bolder than the others, she does what she wants, drawing Elena, who narrates the story, in her wake. But this is more than a conventional up-from-poverty tale. Elena completes her schooling; Lila does not. Elena leaves the neighborhood and eventually Naples and Southern Italy; Lila does not. Yet it is Lila and her dreams and caprices that drive everything. In fact, the narrative exists because the adult Elena, hearing that Lila has disappeared, decides to write Lila’s story. And she does, in dense, almost sociological detail (the list of the members of the key families is actually necessary). This is both fascinating—two girls, their families, a neighborhood, and a nation emerging from war and into an economic boom—and occasionally tedious, as day-to-day life can be. But Lila, mercurial, unsparing, and, at the end of this first episode in a planned trilogy from Ferrante (The Lost Daughter), seemingly capable of starting a full-scale neighborhood war, is a memorable character.

  • AudioFile Magazine This novel, the first in a trilogy by Italian author Elena Ferrante, offers the engrossing story of two friends, Elena and Lila, whose lives crisscross over the years. Hillary Huber's subtly shaded performance couldn't be better as she reveals the complexities that separate and connect the two women. When adult Elena learns that her volatile, impulsive childhood companion has disappeared, she decides to write Lila's story and the story of their lives together. Ferrante's dense, rich prose provides the perfect palette for Huber's artistry. She draws clear portraits of each woman and her family, as well as the small town outside of Naples where they live just after WWII. Huber's delivery of this well-plotted, absorbing story of friendship will leave listeners wanting more. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Elena Ferrante
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