The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

These four books chart the lives of two young girls, Elena and Lila, who grow up together in 1950s Naples. The nature of their friendship as children unfolds in the first book ‘My Brilliant Friend’. They both live in a poor but bustling neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city and both dream of escaping it, whether by marriage or education. As they grow up and grow old (through the next 3 books in the series) the push and pull of their relationship and the changing power they exert over each other continues to be felt and to impact on the course of their lives.

I have to say I almost didn’t read the whole series. I enjoyed the first book ‘My Brilliant Friend’ but no more than that. It didn’t make me want to pick up the next one ‘The Story of a New Name’. But a friend who had read it, forced me to. And I’m so glad she did because I became obsessed with the rest of the series. The story of their friendship is so moving and difficult, painful yet heartwarming and you become totally immersed in their lives. By the end of each book I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. If like me, the first book left you rather lukewarm…keep going. You’ll love them.

4 thoughts on “The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

  1. I felt like I entered a world in these books and emerging back into reality was difficult. The relationships, the way the two girls are separated as much by education as circumstances. Loved every moment.

  2. I’m just embarking on my journey with these books. I’ve bought the first two but have literally only just started book 1. I’ve heard so much about them I thought it was time I gave them a go.

    1. Rather envious you have all those ahead! Just make sure you keep going after the 1st one

  3. I listened to the first two on audiobook whilst trail running. Just about to start the third. I know what you mean about the first, you have to persevere after the first but it is worth it.

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