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Review: My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend is an intricately personal novel about the friendship of two girls, Elena and Lila, who grow up together in an impoverished suburb of Naples during the 1950s.


Lila is the “brilliant friend,” but is trapped in the mundane and traditional domesticity of that time, while Elena strives for a higher education, continuing her studies after middle school. The story follows them through childhood and adolescence as they simultaneously support and compete with one another. It is the first in what will be a series of four “Neapolitan” novels.


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