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The Guardian: "Ferrante has captured the intensity of childhood friendships – their all-consuming nature, the passions and the near romantic obsession – brilliantly."

Date: Jun 22 2015

Audrey Schoeman followed Oranje14’s recommendation and read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante:

[...] and I’ve fallen head over heels in love. I liked it so much that I can hardly form a coherent sentence about it, but apparently it’s oft recommended but the recommendation is rarely substantiated so I will have to have a go. There are some more comprehensive thoughts on my blog here, so this is the short version.

First up, I think the truly terrible cover, combined with the fact that this is a book by a woman about a friendship between two girls, puts a lot of people off. Please be reassured – although there is a wedding in the story, this is a book about two precociously bright girls struggling to break out of the confines of a life of poverty and violence, and not a novel where marriage equates to a happy ending. Ferrante has captured the intensity of childhood friendships – their all-consuming nature, the passions and the near romantic obsession – brilliantly. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about children which has evoked childhood so clearly without ever dropping into childishness.

[...] I feel like I can’t do any kind of justice to this book. I wish I could be more eloquent, or knew more about literary criticism, but all I can do is very strongly suggest that you get hold of it yourself.