Elena Ferrante's Naples: Friendship, Feminism and the Feeling of Home

Jun 01, 2022 292

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you must have heard of My Brilliant Friend, the series of four books by the utterly talented–and mysterious!–Italian writer Elena Ferrante. I still recall the moment I bumped into the first volume of the quartet a few years ago. I was looking for a present for my mother, and the book cover caught my attention. Further intrigued by the synopsis, I read a few pages from My Brilliant Friend in the local bookstore.  

At the time, I did not know anything about the book, and I only vaguely knew the writer from the movie adaptation, by the Italian director Mario Martone, of her first novel L’amore molesto (Troubling Love). The incipit of the novel was so powerful, so hypnotic that I felt mesmerised. Could have it been the plot? Or perhaps the words the writer used to express sophisticated emotions? Or the characters themselves? 

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