Patricia Nicol, Nov 19,2018
My first proper friendship was a fiercely intense one. This little girl and I would spend hours playing placidly together. Then something would flip and we’d start scrapping like Burton and Taylor at 2am.
Insults would fly, bloodcurdling cries would reverberate around the house, grown-ups would rush from other rooms to pull us apart.
When they did, we would be red-cheeked, tear-stained and each clutching clumps of the other’s hair.
We grew out of it, of course, and it shocks me to recall those events now. However, I am not sure if I have ever grown out of intense female friendships, nor if I would want to.
My Brilliant Friend, the first instalment of Elena Ferrante’s compelling quartet, is being televised on Sky Atlantic from this evening. Like readers across the globe, I read this novel compulsively, reeled in by its portrayal of the intense, jealous friendship between Lila and Elena, two clever girls growing up in a violent part of Fifties Naples.
Grown-up Elena tells the story, but it’s Lila, ‘that terrible, dazzling girl’, who exists at its heart.