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Vol. 1 Brooklyn: "Its level of detail, both spatial and in terms of characters major and minor, is practically Dickensian."

Date: Apr 5 2013

Elena Ferrante’s MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is…Actually, that wouldn’t exactly be right: better to say “the first volume of Elena Ferrante’s MY BRILLIANT FRIEND,” as the handsome volume I have before me is only the first part of a much longer work tracing the friendship of two women coming of age in Naples in the 1950s. And while there is some closure in this volume, there are larger questions that remain unanswered: why did Lina, the vibrant heart of the book, vanish? As the narrator, her old friend, begins to recount their shared history, one assumes that Ferrante is setting the reader up for some sort of revelation — or the power of an accumulation of powerful details. This book charts their earlier years; its level of detail, both spatial and in terms of characters major and minor, is practically Dickensian, and I’m eager to see what comes next.

—Tobias Carroll

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