A little late to this, but James Wood's recent praise in the New Yorker for Italian author Elena Ferrante's MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is absolutely correct, and you should run out and buy the book immediately. DO NOT allow the scary and off-putting fact that it opens with an index of characters to intimidate you. I should also mention, even though it is pretty superficial, that the book (and all of Ferrante's English translations thus far; I think she was their inaugural author) is published by Europa Editions, who are putting out some of the most interesting titles around in one of the most elegant and simply-designed formats. (Yes, I still read book books; I cannot vouch for their e-whatevers, but these paperbacks are gorgeous. You're, like, happy to have them in your hand.) Anyway, are you looking for something that you can only put down when you have to look away in the shame and horror of recognition? Elena Ferrante's for you! It's going to be such a shame when we find out she's actually Roberto Calasso or someone.