My Brilliant Friend (Ferrante)

Book Reviews
(These reviews refer to the other works in Ferrante's Neapolitan series, not just My Brilliant Friend.)

Elena Ferrante is one of the great novelists of our time. Her voice is passionate, her view sweeping and her gaze basilisk.... In these bold, gorgeous, relentless novels, Ferrante traces the deep connections between the political and the domestic. This is a new version of the way we live now—one we need, one told brilliantly, by a woman. (From a 2014 review of Those Who Stay Those Who Leave)
Roxana Robinson - New York Times Book Review


Everyone should read anything with Ferrante’s name on it. (From a 2012 review of My Brilliant Friend)
Eugenia Williamson - Boston Globe


Compelling, visceral and immediate . . . a riveting examination of power.... The Neapolitan novels are a tour de force. (From a 2014 review of Those Who Leave Those Who Stay)
Jennifer Gilmore - Los Angeles Times


Ferrante writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency that is a celebration of anger. Ferrante is terribly good with anger, a very specific sort of wrath harbored by women, who are so often not allowed to give voice to it. We are angry, a lot of the time, at the position we’re in—whether it’s as wife, daughter, mother, friend—and I can think of no other woman writing who is so swift and gorgeous in this rage, so bracingly fearless in mining fury. (From a 2012 review of My Brilliant Friend)
Susanna Sonnenberg - San Francisco Chronicle
 

The through-line in all of Ferrante’s investigations, for me, is nothing less than one long, mind-and-heart-shredding howl for the history of women (not only Neapolitan women), and its implicit j’accuse.... Ferrante’s effect, critics agree, is inarguable. (From a 2013  review of The Story of a New Name.)
Joan Fran - San Francisco Chronicle


Ferrante’s novels are intensely, violently personal, and because of this they seem to dangle bristling key chains of confession before the unsuspecting reader. (From a 2013 overview of Ferrante's works)
James Wood - The New Yorker
 

One of the more nuanced portraits of feminine friendship in recent memory. (From a 2013 review of My Brilliant Friend)
Megan O’Grady - Vogue


Elena Ferrante may be the best contemporary novelist you’ve never heard of. (From a 2013 review of The Story of a New Name)
Economist


When I read [the Neapolitan novels] I find that I never want to stop. I feel vexed by the obstacles—my job, or acquaintances on the subway—that threaten to keep me apart from the books. I mourn separations (a year until the next one—how?). I am propelled by a ravenous will to keep going. (From a 2013 review of the Neapolitan series.)
Molly Fischer - The New Yorker


[Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels] don’t merely offer a teeming vision of working-class Naples, with its cobblers and professors, communists and mobbed-up businessmen, womanizing poets and downtrodden wives; they present one of modern fiction’s richest portraits of a friendship.
John Powers - Fresh Air, NPR
 

An intoxicatingly furious portrait of enmeshed friends Lila and Elena, Bright and passionate girls from a raucous neighborhood in world-class Naples. Ferrante writes with such aggression  and unnerving psychological insight about the messy complexity of female friendship that the real world can drop away when you’re reading her.
Entertainment Weekly

This is both fascinating—two girls, their families, a neighborhood, and a nation emerging from war and into an economic boom—and occasionally tedious, as day-to-day life can be. But Lila, mercurial, unsparing...is a memorable character. (From a 2012 review of My Brilliant Friend.)
Publishers Weekly

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