Harper’s Bazaar: My Brilliant Friend: Everything you need to know about the Elena Ferrante TV adaptation

The Neapolitan novels are coming to HBO

On Harper’s Bazaar

Ella Alexander – Nov 12, 2018

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels – a unique, transfixing portrayal of female friendship over the course of 50 years – have sold over two million copies since the release of the first book in 2011.

In an age where self-promotion is pervasive, Ferrante prefers to remain anonymous despite the media’s attempt to unmask her. But so compelling is her work that HBO decided to develop a TV version of her famous four novels, airing on Sky Atlantic, bringing the tale of Lila and Lenu to an even bigger audience.

What is it about?

The Neapolitan novels are both a story about the growth of two women from childhood to adulthood, as well as a history of 20th century Italy. It begins with two young girls, Lila and Lenu, who live in an impoverished part of post-war Naples. They are both extremely intelligent, but one is allowed to stay on after primary school and the other is forced to stop studying and work in the family business.

What follows is their journey as friends through to adulthood. My Brilliant Friendends as the protagonists enter early adulthood, while the following three books – The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child – chronicle their intense friendship at various points in their lives, spanning love, adultery, marriage, abuse, poverty, motherhood and loss. They are simultaneously each other’s best friends and worst enemies. There are few takes on female friendship that are as detailed, compelling or well-observed.

How many episodes will there be?

The series will form 32 episodes, divided into eight episodes for each book.

Read more