My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

#My Dear World of Books
#My Dear World of My Brillian Friend
“My Brillian Friend” is the first of the four-volume series named “The Neapolitan Novels.”

Reading “My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante leads the reader to realise that the Italian writer is a master of her craft. The book is the first of the four-volume series named “The Neapolitan Novels” and its marvellous narrative pushes the reader to go through all its sequels atone go/at one sitting.

The story unfolds when Elena Greco receives a call from her best friend’s son to tell her that her mother, Lina Cerullo has disappeared without a trace. This event compels Elena to reflect on the history of her childhood, and her precarious growing up in a humble neighbourhood of Naples during the 1950s.

Throughout the story, Elena depicts the relationship with Lina narrating a series of eccentric events, far-fetched situations and poignant moments. She sees her friend Lina as a role model and believes that the best of herself only comes out when Lina is the source of her inspiration.

Elena and Lina’s school years and, in particular their mentor, Maestra Oliviero, play a major role in the girls’ personality. The time they spend enclosed in their classrooms will endure in their memories for the rest of their lives. They are top-of-the-class students and they have no match in the intellectual competitions organised by the teachers. However, whereas Elena is Maestra Oliviero’s pet, Lina ends up becoming the teacher’s unforgettable disappointment.

Both girls endeavour to change their lives and escape from their social situation but they take different paths to attain their objectives.

The reader gets lost in the mundane stories of the book, which far from being lowbrow are full of psychological aspects and reflect the characteristics of a social class immersed in poverty. The book provides vivid snapshots of the obscure situations of its characters whose lives are intertwined.

Through the eyes of the author, we learn many of the aspects that define the Naples of the middle of the last century. Ferrante takes us on a journey that causes a stir on the thoughts of feminism, domestic violence, politics and class jumping through education.  The characters’ thoughts and feelings are described with a mixture of sensitivity and visceral vividness to such an extent, that become incredibly real in the mind of the reader.

This book is a masterpiece of modern Literature and a must read for everyone looking for a novel that fills his spirit with humanity and realism at the same time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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