Friday, January 30, 2015

Review of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant FriendMy Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, I don't know that I'd call this a modern masterpiece, but it is a nice read. It's one of those works of fiction that are really more like semi-autobiographical creative non-fiction. It sounds a lot like I would expect Elena Ferrante's childhood and adolescence to have been. It certainly reads that way.

But there is a warmth and ease of story-telling here that I really enjoyed and appreciated. You don't have to work too hard to extract meaning from the story and to be drawn into the storyline.

One of my criticisms, though, is the utter lionizing of the narrator's "perfect" friend, Lila. No one I know is as one/dimensionally smart and accomplished as Lila, the narrator's exceptional friend. Makes me think that the narrator is, herself, in a state of delusion about the special qualities of Lila.  But if this is simply a literary convention, it's quite effective.

A book well worth reading for our Book Club.  And one that propels the reader to want to tackle the next three books in the series.

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