BBC Radio 4

Episode 1 | Drama,Reading Europe – Italy: My Brilliant Friend

From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is the first in a quartet of books entitled The Neapolitan Novels. They are a forensic exploration of friendship between Lila and the story’s narrator, Lena. This is no normal friendship, it’s a friendship that loves, hurts, supports and destroys – and yet it is one that lasts a lifetime.

It begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets two girls, Elena and Lila, learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone – or anything – else as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.

It is the story of a nation, of a neighbourhood, a city and a country undergoing momentous change.

This first book centres on their childhood and adolescence.

From the book by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
Dramatised by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Celia de Wolff

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.