"This is the first book of Ferrante's Neapolitan trilogy, about a friendship between two girls in an impoverished neighborhood in Naples. Through intense competition, envy, brutality, misfortune, and injustice, the two return to their friendship again and again. It's an intimate, indelible portrait of young girls striving desperately for an education they need for more reasons than they even know. I read this book to study how Ferrante's voice works. It contains raw visceral pain while also offering the calm wisdom of a long perspective. Her voice feels necessary. Elena Ferrante is the Italian Alice Munro."