Cultural Life Connection

Fascinating Blue Reads

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

When I think of blue the sea comes to mind which makes my next choice, book one in the Neapolitan novels, My Brilliant Friend: 1 by Elena Ferrante a great choice as it’s set in the bay of Naples. No one seems to know who Elena Ferrante is, it appears at the moment to be a big mystery but whoever they are they know how to write very interesting fiction especially with regards to realistic characterisation. My Brilliant Friend is the first book of four that follows the story of young girls Elena and Lila in Naples as they grow up. The first book is mostly concerned with their childhood and adolescence, you learn that the girls are both very clever but that Elena is luckier than Lila in that she is supported by her family in continuing her education whereas Lila is forced to work in her father’s shoe making firm. The girls experience jealousy over relationships with boys but also experience opportunities, as Elena moves towards a scholarly future, Lila prepares to get married. Ferrante realistically describes moments of discovery, but also threat as the girls are growing up in a highly masculinised society. Violence and the code of honour abound, Lila is oppressed by her father and brother and there is a local figure who is obviously Mafia-related called the Don who they imagine as a monster who steals their toys. I can see the appeal of these books, look forward to reading the rest and may be getting the same level of #ferrantefever as many people have!