Darren Franich – Nov 15, 2018
I spent a happy month this year living in thrall to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, a four-part saga following two women across the back half of the 20th century. Ferrante addiction is a global pandemic, of course. Since the 2012 publication of the first volume, My Brilliant Friend, the series has sold an estimated kamillion copies in an estimated bazillion countries. Their sweep is epic, moving with mathematical precision from a particularly memorable school competition, through long days in a working class neighborhood, into great political upheavals and greater personal tragedies. In macro, the mind races for heavy comparisons: Woolf, Tolstoy, Eliot, the other Eliot. And Ferrante’s style is intimate, confessional, very funny. It has the unputdownable quality of one of those Twitter stories that used to go viral before Twitter was an all-consuming virus, a cheerful personal anecdote spiraling toward almost psychedelic rage.