My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by Elena FerranteMy Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by Elena Ferrantesticker-burst

My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One

byElena FerranteTranslated byAnn Goldstein

Paperback | September 25, 2012

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Soon to be an HBO series, book one in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic by Italy’s most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante, “one of the great novelists of our time.” (Roxana Robinson, The New York Times)
 
Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. 

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.

“An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends,” writes Entertainment Weekly. “Spectacular,” says Maureen Corrigan on NPR’s Fresh Air. “A large, captivating, amiably peopled bildungsroman,” writes James Wood in The New Yorker

Ferrante is one of the world’s great storytellers. With My Brilliant Friend she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.
Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008) and the Neapolitan Quartet (Europa 2012-2015). She is also the author of a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night.Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. Her transl...
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Title:My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book OneFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.22 × 5.34 × 0.97 inPublished:September 25, 2012Publisher:EuropaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1609450787

ISBN - 13:9781609450786

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Needs warming up to but LOVED it ! Both the style of writing (Italian translation) and the numerous characters get's warming up to; especially if you're like me and have trouble remembering all the names at first. But the storyline is incredibly entertaining and the dynamic between the girls (two main characters) is so well thought out and evolving. Getting book 2 and 3 today :)
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the second one in the series. I'm really happy to know it's a quartet, because that will give me hours more of interesting reading. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was Ok.. It was an ok read. It left enough questions at the end that I would read the next book.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Modern Classic Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series begins with this enchanting and riveting book about the childhood and early adolescent of two young girls, whose chaotic and debauched surroundings shapes them as women and as friends. Ferrante's authenticity and simplicity is the prizing glory of this novel, placing the reader in the mind of an unreliable narrator in whom we can all see a little bit of ourselves in. A must-read, I strongly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liked it Excellent novel. One you will want to reread.
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a story! An excellent addition to your library.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! I couldn't put this book down, and immediately purchased the following 3 books in the series. The writing takes some getting used to (translated from Italian), but I found the perspective to be honest and real. Currently seeking out other titles by the author.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from did not live up to the hype My mom bought this book as per the suggestion of Jessica Seinfeld. She lent it to me after she read it, and I did not find that it lived up to all the praise. It was good, but it was not something I could put down. I decided to persevere, hoping the story would pick up in subsequent novels.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just ok I got lost with all the characters and couldn't get invested in the story
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book A friend gave me this to read - I had no expectations - was completely pulled into the story. Fascinating description of post-war Italy - and a lovely portrayal of female friendship with all it's ups and downs
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addictive I had read a lot about Elena Ferrante before actually reading any of her books and this first installment did not disappoint! It was riveting and intense and I couldn't put it down. The characters and the community the story takes place in felt so unfamiliar at times, but I loved being taken out of my own experience and into something completely new.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A page turner This book sat on my shelf for a couple months after I bought it. If I had known how it would suck me in I would have started it sooner. This a must read!
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I really wanted to like this book... I tried to find something positive in this book, but it was lacklustre, monotonous, repetitive and replete with run-on sentences. There was no beauty in the writing. At times, I wanted to yell at the author, "Just get on with the story!" I forced myself to finish it, but will definitely not be reading anything more by this author.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All time favourite I just could not put this book down and am currently on the third part. Promise me, it just gets better. The writing style is fluid and captivating, the main characters Lenu and Lila are so relatable and magic at the same time. A great slice of life story with a cultural, historical and political context.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This has got to me one of my all time favourite books. The trials and tribulations and self-doubts that encompassed the narrator were written with such clarity and beauty that it quite honestly left me awe-struck. But I think it was its honesty and simplicity that spoke most to me.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A trilogy, so don't stop at the first book I ordered Volume I and had to wait two weeks to get the second then third volume. The story flows into the next volumes so get all three at once. I did not put down the book until finished, each one of the three parts. The story is not easy to digest: harsh and brutally depicting a male dominated, poverty stricken and crime dominated era, that continues into our days. Some parts of the narration were written with uncommon audacity, especially as you have the feeling of reading an auto-biography. Did I like it? Not really, but I do not regret having read it (the trilogy). Definitely a must read
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Once you give the style a shot it is incredible. Translated from Italy the poetic and sometimes some what cryptic style of the writing takes some time to adapt to. The love and envy of best-friendship is portrayed in such a raw manner that leaves you questioning if this is in fact a memoir of the author. In fact, many readers have sought to solve this mystery as the writing is so incredibly detailed and personal. This aspect pulls you further into an already highly addicting and digestibly story. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So much fuss about this anonymous writer; much ado about nothing. Ferrante is a strong writer but the story never took root in me somehow. I kept trying but it just didn't. I appreciated learning about life in Italy during those years and the different people in Lena's world but nothing about this was riveting to me so I will bypass the other books in the trilogy.
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Writing "We lived in a world in which children and adults were often wounded, blood flowed from the wounds, they festered, and sometimes people died." I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “masterpiece” to describe a book before, but Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend may just change that. I can’t recall the last time I was so quickly swept away by a book – I didn’t want to put it down. Ferrante’s depiction of female friendship is raw and powerful, but above all, real. Ferrante’s honesty, combined with the violent and impovroshed 1950’s Italian neighbourhood in which these characters live, makes for a truly engaging read. My Brilliant Friend follows Elena and Lila from their childhood into their adolescence, and the reader experiences many of the things you’d expect young girls to go through during these formative years. Their friendship is wrought with tension, jealousy, competition, self-doubt, and arrogance – though, on the other hand, we see genuine moments of tenderness and kindness. Much like any long term relationship, Elena and Lila’s friendship is complex. Oh, and Lila is tough as nails. I love this moment when Lila seeks to protect Elena from the older neighborhood boys: 'She showed me the sharp shoemaker’s knife that she had taken from her father’s workshop. “They won’t touch me, because I’m ugly…but with you they might. If anything happens, tell me”.' My Brilliant Friend examines the significance of education during a time when it wasn’t seen as necessary. "My mother wanted the stationer to take me in as an assistant: in her view, clever as I was, I was suited to selling pens, pencils, notebooks, and schoolbooks." The contrast of Elena’s formal education with Lila’s self-teaching was fascinating, and I can’t wait to see how this dichotomy continues throughout the series. This book, after all, is just as much about class struggle than it is about Elena and Lila. Elena Ferrante is in herself a fascinating figure; she has chosen anonymity, leaving her work to speak for itself. I cannot wait to continue with the Neapolitan novels to see where she takes us next.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brutally honest look at female friendship The Neopolitan series is one of my favourite reads of all time. I felt as if I had lead these lives in Italy in the 1960s. I have never seen female friendship treated in a way that met with my experience. A must read.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Looking forward to continuing this seris I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked the complex nature of Elena and Lila's relationship, even if I didn't understand the attraction at times. Friendship is complicated. The community surrounding these two friends is lively and volatile. The European feel of a community comes through with the gossip, the leaning out the windows, the knowing of everyone's business. It was delightful and entertaining.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Ferrante is possibly the world's best living novelist, and this is the beginning of her masterpiece. It is a cornerstone for fictional examinations of female friendship. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ugh I know this book is highly recommended by many people but I would not recommend this to anyone! I read it for book club and the majority of us just could not get into this book. The characters were unlikable, the story was boring and just plodded along. I finished the book but will not be continuing with the series. Highly overrated novel. Spare yourselves and read something else.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excited to continue with the series! Would recommend starting this series. I am really enjoying it so far, and am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Honest Portrayal of Female Friendship Initially it took me time to get acquainted and acclimatized to Ferrante's world. It is very different from what I grew up in but it is her examination of female friendship and community that makes her story accessible to anyone. I believe almost every woman has had or still has a friend just like Lila. Someone with whom they tie themselves to, look up to and want to emulate. As a reader there are times I think to myself why does Lenu wants Lila as her friend. As a person, Lila is self-centred and manipulative always using others to better herself or get what she wants. You see eventually that Lenu is one of the very few people for which Lila actually seems to care about the well-being of and Lila does seem to inspire Lenu to make smarter decisions about herself - most of the time. The two are inexplicably bound to one another and Ferrante keeps you reading for her elegant writing as much as the need to know what happens next for Lenu and Lila. It isn't a book full of action or plot twists but the winding life story of Lila and Lenu acts as a great mirror that reflects back our own childhood friendships and experiences as much as it reveals that of Lenu.
Date published: 2016-05-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Also disappointed... I found the characters rather boring and almost interchangeable. There was very little in the way of character development. Even the two main characters seem to have a shallow and intermittent relationship - not a deep or moving connection. They don't even seem to like each other much. And where was all the description of Italy's culture, history etc.? I didn't get a sense of that at all. It was all self-centred babble from the young narrator - which boy likes me? do I have pimples on my chin? - which sounds a lot like how young girls think, but wasn't particularly interesting to listen to.
Date published: 2016-05-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed I had high hopes for this book but the story lost me. Being Italian I understand the culture but this book was a bore. I am always determined to finish books but this one had me skipping sections and after 3 weeks I have not finished 3/4 of it.
Date published: 2016-05-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from My best friend Disappointing, not at all what I expected. The story had too many gaps. I would have liked more information on the mother daughter relationship.
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best series I've ever read I am an avid bookworm and I have to say this is the best book (and series of books - i.e. the remainder of the Neapolitan series) I have ever read. This author brilliantly captures it all within the series - the often complicated dynamics in a female friendship and how it defines the participants within the friendship, the historical context of postwar Italy, the perspectives of those who grow up in poverty as well as in an overtly patriarchal society, the complicated relationship mothers have with their children and the effects of parenting on the child, and the subtle interplays in relationships/marriage...Not only this, but I know that there are many things I missed during the first reading (the plot line is addictive so you end up reading quickly) and I am looking forward to many future readings to discover more hidden gems within the books. I would say, however, that this is not a series for everyone - it is not lighthearted or easy reading, and the plot line can be complicated.
Date published: 2015-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woderful book Absolutely brilliant writing....a major talent.Perhaps the only criticism was the similarity of names.....a little hard to keep track of the family relationships without a constant backtracking. Still, a marvellous read.
Date published: 2015-05-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I just didn't 'get' this book I was SO unbelievably excited to read this book because all I kept hearing about it was that it was the best thing since sliced bread. I had heard it was supposed to be intensely moving, powerful, and a provoking story written by one of Italy's most celebrated authors. Nope, sorry. At least for me it wasn't. The whole book felt like a bumbling mess and I never really connected with any of the characters. There were so many of them introduced at the beginning of the book that it was incredibly hard for me to keep track of everyone - I still have no idea how a few of the characters relate to one another and, frankly, I'm past caring. The narrative was sloppy and whiny. None of the main characters were likable. The ending just ENDED with no resolution in sight. It just literally snapped to black and ended. No explanation (although, I just read online that this is supposed to be the first novel in a trilogy, so that may explain the sudden ending). I got nothing out of this book and would not recommend it.
Date published: 2015-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My Brilliant Friend Very engaging easy read!
Date published: 2014-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from life in a small Italian town The story starts with two girls,Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo and soon includes the stories of other Italian families in a little town near Naples. At first I thought that it was strictly a tale of friendship, but I soon discovered that it is a gorgeously written account of a community and a country rising from the cruel poverty and hatred left from war. The transformation begins and ends with the two girls as they strive to make their own decisions about their life paths. Lila is a sparkplug with a vibrant personality and Elena loves their friendship and is inspired to change her life circumstances. How it all plays out is fascinating. You will discover who the brilliant friend is and the ending has an interesting surprise. I marvelled at the preciseness and beauty of the author's writing. I would actually reread this book to see what I missed and to take it all in.
Date published: 2014-10-20

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Elena Ferrante and The Neapolitan NovelsThe United States“Ferrante’s novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader.” —James Wood, The New Yorker “One of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory.” —Megan O’Grady, Vogue “Amazing! My Brilliant Friend took my breath away. If I were president of the world I would make everyone read this book. It is so honest and right and opens up heart to so much. 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, author of Olive Kitteridge “I like the Italian writer, Elena Ferrante, a lot. I've been reading all her work and all about her.” — John Waters, actor and director “Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you’ve never heard of.”—The Economist “Ferrante’s freshness has nothing to do with fashion…it is imbued with the most haunting music of all, the echoes of literary history.”—The New York Times Book Review “I am such a fan of Ferrante’s work, and have been for quite a while.” —Jennifer Gilmore, author of The Mothers “The women’s fraught relationship and shifting fortunes are the life forces of the poignant book” — Publisher’s Weekly “When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles—my job, or acquaintances on the subway—that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one—how?). I am propelled by a ravenous will to keep going.”—Molly Fischer, The New Yorker“[Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels] don’t merely offer a teeming vision of working-class Naples, with its cobblers and professors, communists and mobbed-up businessmen, womanizing poets and downtrodden wives; they present one of modern fiction’s richest portraits of a friendship.” —John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR “Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time. Her voice is passionate, her view sweeping and her gaze basilisk . . . In these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now — one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman.”—Roxana Robinson, The New York Times Book Review “An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends Lila and Elena, Bright and passionate girls from a raucous neighborhood in world-class Naples. Ferrante writes with such aggression  and unnerving psychological insight about the messy complexity of female friendship that the real world can drop away when you’re reading her.”—Entertainment Weekly"It's just hypnotic. I could not stop reading it or thinking about it."—Hillary Clinton “Ferrante seasons the prose with provocative perceptions not unlike the way Proust did.” —Shelf Awareness “It would be difficult to find a deeper portrait of women’s friendship than the one in Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which unfold from the fifties to the twenty-first century to tell a single story with the possessive force of an origin myth.”—Megan O’Grady, Vogue  “Ferrante’s writing is so unencumbered, so natural, and yet so lovely, brazen, and flush. The constancy of detail and the pacing that zips and skips then slows to a real-time crawl have an almost psychic effect, bringing you deeply into synchronicity with the discomforts and urgency of the characters’ emotions. Ferrante is unlike other writers—not because she’s innovative, but rather because she’s unselfconscious and brutally, diligently honest.”—Minna Proctor, Bookforum “Ferrante can do a woman’s interior dialogue like no one else, with a ferocity that is shockingly honest, unnervingly blunt.”—Booklist “The truest evocation of a complex and lifelong friendship between women I’ve ever read.” —Emily Gould, author of Friendship “Elena Ferrante is the author of several remarkable, lucid, austerely honest novels . . . My Brilliant Friend is a large, captivating, amiably peopled bildungsroman.”—James Wood, The New Yorker “Compelling, visceral and immediate . . . a riveting examination of power . . . The Neapolitan novels are a tour de force.”—Jennifer Gilmore, The Los Angeles Times “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay surpasses the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles in the Neapolitan Novels.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Ferrante’s voice feels necessary. She is the Italian Alice Munro.”—Mona Simpson,author of Casebook and Anywhere But Here “Elena Ferrante will blow you away.”—Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones “The Days of Abandonment is a powerful, heartrending novel.”—Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Lowland  “The Neapolitan novel cycle is an unconditional masterpiece . . . I read all the books in a state of immersion; I was totally enthralled. There was nothing else I wanted to do except follow the lives of Lila and Lenù to the end.”—Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Lowland “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, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Burgess Boys “Elena Ferrante: the best angry woman writer ever!”—John Waters, director “The feverish speculation about the identity of Elena Ferrante betrays an understandable failure of imagination: it seems impossible that right now somewhere someone sits in a room and draws up these books. Palatial and heartbreaking beyond measure, the Neapolitan novels seem less written than they do revealed. One simply surrenders. When the final volume appears—may that day never come!—they’re bound to be acknowledged as one of the most powerful works of art, in any medium, of our age.”—Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction “Ferrante tackles girlhood and friendship with amazing force.”—Gwyneth Paltrow, actor “Elena Ferrante’s The Story of a New Name. Book two in her Naples trilogy. Two words: Read it.”—Ann Hood, writer (from Twitter) “Ferrante continues to imbue this growing saga with great magic.”—Booklist(starred review) “One of Italy’s best contemporary novelists.”?—The Seattle Times“Ferrante’s emotional and carnal candor are so potent.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times “Elena Ferrante’s gutsy and compulsively readable new novel, the first of a quartet, is a terrific entry point for Americans unfamiliar with the famously reclusive writer, whose go-for-broke tales of women’s shadow selves—those ambivalent mothers and seething divorcées too complex or unseemly for polite society (and most literary fiction, for that matter)—shimmer with Balzacian human detail and subtle psychological suspense . . . The Neapolitan novels offer one of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory—from the make-up and break-up quarrels of young girls to the way in which we carefully define ourselves against each other as teens—Ferrante wisely balances her memoir-like emotional authenticity with a wry sociological understanding of a society on the verge of dramatic change.” —Megan O’Grady, Vogue “My Brilliant Friend is a sweeping family-centered epic that encompasses issues of loyalty, love, and a transforming Europe. This gorgeous novel should bring a host of new readers to one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors.”—The Barnes and Noble Review “Ferrante draws an indelible picture of the city’s mean streets and the poverty, violence and sameness of lives lived in the same place forever . . . She is a fierce writer.”—Shelf Awareness “Ferrante transforms the love, separation and reunion of two poor urban girls into the general tragedy of their city.”—The New York Times “Beautifully translated by Ann Goldstein . . . Ferrante writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency that is a celebration of anger. Ferrante is terribly good with anger, a very specific sort of wrath harbored by women, who are so often not allowed to give voice to it. We are angry, a lot of the time, at the position we’re in—whether it’s as wife, daughter, mother, friend—and I can think of no other woman writing who is so swift and gorgeous in this rage, so bracingly fearless in mining fury.”—Susanna Sonnenberg, The San Francisco Chronicle “Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it.”—The Boston Globe “The through-line in all of Ferrante’s investigations, for me, is nothing less than one long, mind-and-heart-shredding howl for the history of women (not only Neapolitan women), and its implicit j’accuse . . . Ferrante’s effect, critics agree, is inarguable. ‘Intensely, violently personal’ and ‘brutal directness, familial torment’ is how James Wood ventures to categorize her—descriptions that seem mild after you’ve encountered the work.” —Joan Frank, The San Francisco Chronicle “Lila, mercurial, unsparing, and, at the end of this first episode in a planned trilogy from Ferrante, seemingly capable of starting a full-scale neighborhood war, is a memorable character.”—Publishers Weekly “An engrossing, wildly original contemporary epic about the demonic power of human (and particularly female) creativity checked by the forces of history and society.” —The Los Angeles Review of Books “Ferrante’s own writing has no limits, is willing to take every thought forward to its most radical conclusion and backwards to its most radical birthing.”­—The New YorkerThe United Kingdom“The Story of a New Name, like its predecessor, is fiction of the very highest order.”—Independent on Sunday “My Brilliant Friend, translated by Ann Goldstein, is stunning: an intense, forensic exploration of the friendship between Lila and the story’s narrator, Elena. Ferrante’s evocation of the working-class district of Naples where Elena and Lila first meet as two wiry eight-year-olds is cinematic in the density of its detail.”—The Times Literary Supplement “This is a story about friendship as a mass of roiling currents—love, envy, pity, spite, dependency and Schadenfreude coiling around one another, tricky to untangle.”—Intelligent Life “Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you have never heard of. The Italian author has written six lavishly praised novels. But she writes under a pseudonym and will not offer herself for public consumption. Her characters likewise defy convention . . . Her prose is crystal, and her storytelling both visceral and compelling.”—The Economist Ferrante is an expert above all at the rhythm of plotting: certain feuds and oppositions are kept simmering and in abeyance for years, so that a particular confrontation – a particular scene – can be many hundreds of pages in coming, but when it arrives seems at once shocking and inevitable.”—The IndependentItaly “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay evokes the vital flux of a heartbeat, of blood flowing through our veins.”—La Repubblica “We don’t know who she is, but it doesn’t matter. Ferrante’s books are enthralling self-contained monoliths that do not seek friendship but demand silent, fervid admiration from her passionate readers . . . The thing most real in these novels is the intense, almost osmotic relationship that unites Elena and Lila, the two girls from a neighborhood in Naples who are the peerless protagonists of the Neapolitan novels.”—Famiglia Cristiana “Today it is near impossible to find writers capable of bringing smells, tastes, feelings, and contradictory passions to their pages. Elena Ferrante, alone, seems able to do it. There is no writer better suited to composing the great Italian novel of her generation, her country, and her time than she.”—Il Manifesto “Elena Ferrante is a very great novelist . . . In a world often held prisoner to minimalism, her writing is extremely powerful, earthy, and audacious.”—Francesca Marciano, author of The Other Language “Regardless of who is behind the name Elena Ferrante, the mysterious pseudonym used by the author of the Neapolitan novels, two things are certain: she is a woman and she knows how to describe Naples like nobody else. She does so with a style that recalls an enchanted spider web with its expressive power and the wizardry with which it creates an entire world.” —Huffington Post (Italy) “A marvel that is without limits and beyond genre.”—Il Salvagente“Elena Ferrante is proving that literature can cure our present ills; it can cure the spirit by operating as an antidote to the nervous attempts we make to see ourselves reflected in the present-day of a country that is increasingly repellent.”—Il Mattino“My Brilliant Friend flows from the soul like an eruption from Mount Vesuvio.”—La RepubblicaAustralia “No one has a voice quite like Ferrante’s. Her gritty, ruthlessly frank novels roar off the page with a barbed fury, like an attack that is also a defense . . . Ferrante’s fictions are fierce, unsentimental glimpses at the way a woman is constantly under threat, her identity submerged in marriage, eclipsed by motherhood, mythologised by desire. Imagine if Jane Austen got angry and you’ll have some idea of how explosive these works are.”—John Freeman, The Australian “One of the most astounding—and mysterious—contemporary Italian novelists available in translation, Elena Ferrante unfolds the tumultuous inner lives of women in her thrillingly menacing stories of lost love, negligent mothers and unfulfilled desires.”—The Age “Ferrante bewitches with her tiny, intricately drawn world . . . My Brilliant Friend journeys fearlessly into some of that murkier psychological territory where questions of individual identity are inextricable from circumstance and the ever-changing identities of others.” —The Melbourne Review “The Neapolitan novels move far from contrivance, logic or respectability to ask uncomfortable questions about how we live, how we love, how we singe an existence in a deeply flawed world that expects pretty acquiescence from its women. In all their beauty, their ugliness, their devotion and deceit, these girls enchant and repulse, like life, like our very selves.” —The Sydney Morning Herald “The best thing I’ve read this year, far and away, would be Elena Ferrante…I just think she puts most other writing at the moment in the shade. She’s marvelous. I like her so much I’m now doing something I only do when I really love the writer: I’m only allowing myself two pages a day.” —Richard Flanagan, author of Book prize finalist, The Narrow Road to the Deep NorthSpain “Elena Ferrante’s female characters are genuine works of art . . . It is clear that her novel is the child of Italian neorealism and an abiding fascination with scene.”—El Pais