We have finally got around to reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Unless you have been living under the proverbial rock, you will already know that this is the first of the four ‘Neapolitan’ novels written by Ferrante, a series that has propelled the author to literary superstardom over the last few years... The books follow the friendship of two women, Lila and our narrator Lenù, with the first novel covering their childhood and adolescence, up to the age of 16. They live in a run-down neighbourhood of Naples, where money is scarce and expectations for the future are no higher than either staying in the neighbourhood and working in the family business or marrying well Lenù and Lila’s friendship is peppered with acts of kindness and cruelty can be carried out at almost the same time, and the relationship can easily teeter between being a positive and negative force ...
Elena Ferrante ( aka Anita Raja ) published her first book in 1992, a pivotal year for the country. This was when inquiries into corruption transformed the entire political system. A dramatisation of these events, simply called 1992 is currently being broadcast in Italy. Nostalgic as it sounds, it is successful.
People are talking about it; they like to think about a past which was surely more promising than the present.
In the last 23 years Elena Ferrante went from the acerbic Troubling Love to the impressive The Lost Daughter. She changed, matured, evolved, and succeeded while remaining herself. She kept her promises. This could be hard to forgive in a country which has not even started coming to terms with its lost two decades. Elena Ferrante versus Little Leichhardt Italy ( Ludwig came from Bohemian part of Prussia)