My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Definitely not plot driven; this reads more like a personal memoir (of someone with a very, very good memory of a long ago time). Which, considering the mystery of Elena Ferrante's identity, could very well be true. I'm not a fan of the personal memoir; what kept me reading was the characters, setting, place and time. I was drawn to the story of the two friends, whose lives intersect in both negative and positive ways; the heartache and wonderment and jealousy of teenage friendship. The foreign setting of Naples 1958, as a generation discovers rock and roll and sex. A violent, sexist society, one generation ruined, the next trying to survive trying to make it, someway. "Here everything is dangerous" says one of the friends, and that seems to be the (depressing) theme of the book. The story doesn't feel finished; it's part of a trilogy, so perhaps danger is left behind for richest untold.
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