My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Title : My Brilliant Friend

Author : Elena Ferrante

Context : My Brilliant Friend is a historical fiction novel by Elena Ferrante set in Italy in the 1950s. The author, Elena Ferrante presents the tale of a neighborhood, a city and a nation as it gets metamorphosed in many different ways that in the process the relationship between the women protagonists in turn is also metamorphosed.

Synopsis : The four volume story spans across around six decades in a poverty stricken but vibrant neighborhood in 1950s on the suburbs of Naples. Main characters are Elena the bookish narrator and the unforgettable and fiery Lila become women, mothers, wives and leaders who maintain a conflict relationship at times and sometimes a complex one all the while.

In volume one, the series follows the ten year olds Elena and Lila whose initial meeting itself has been a fateful one and their relationship continues through the years in school and adolescence.

My Brilliant Friend is indeed a generous hearted, intense and rich tale about both the friends. Elena, a favorite of her teacher, sees her classmate Lila as not just exceptional but her mirror, role model and her subject as well, eventually. From Elena’s viewpoint her very own passive-aggressive repression, her goodness of the grade grind comes to life only when it is compared to the feral, fiery and malevolent creative genius, her friend Lila. Both part ways in their adolescent years. While Lila drops out, Elena stays in school.

The book is about many things including male violence, left-wing politics, warping force of patriarchy on the creativity of women, about class-jumping through education all of which brings awareness about social class origins and how it is integrated in art.

Other works by the Author :

1992  - Troubling Love

2005 – The Days of Abandonment

2016 – Frantumaglia

2008 – The Lost Daughter

2016 – The Beach at Night

2013 – The Story of a New Name

2014 – Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

2015 – The Story of the Lost Child

2019 – Incidental Inventions

2020 – The Lying Life of Adults

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