My Brilliant Friend : The Neapolitan Novels

  • by Elena Ferrante
  • Narrated by Hillary Huber
  • Series: The Neapolitan Novels
  • 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, who represent the story of a nation and the nature of friendship.
The story begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow - and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge - Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.
With My Brilliant Friend, the first in a series, Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy's greatest storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted pause-resister, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations - a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new listeners to her work.

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What the Critics Say

"Hillary Huber's subtly shaded performance couldn't be better as she reveals the complexities that separate and connect the two women.... Huber's delivery of this well-plotted, absorbing story of friendship will leave listeners wanting more." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My Brilliant friend

Brilliant story l can't wait to read the next book. I did find the American narrator difficult to get used to initially but she grew on me by the end. I wish the chapters corresponded however
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- Susan Whitehead

A brutally honest account of growing up in Naples

This book has found a place in my top 10 audiobooks. It is a story of friendship, told from the point of view of Lenu, she tells about her, and her best friend Lila's childhood, the harsh life they had growing up in Naples in the 1950s and their relationship to one another, each of them is defined by the other.
I started reading the book for a book group and downloaded the audio book as I was busy at the time and wasn't sure I would finish the book in time, so thought I'd be able to cram the story into any spare gaps with the audiobook. Very quickly the book fell by the wayside and I found myself listening to the audiobook for long stretches.
The authors style is nothing I have previously encountered, her prose is spare at a time when most novels tends towards the poetic. The narration is in keeping with the style of the story and is never overly dramatic. The Italian pronunciation was a highlight for me. This may make the story sound boring but in fact the opposite is true, it was refreshing to have the story told frankly and without frills, as if a friend were telling you the story of their life. I think this is part of the reason why so many people love this book.
Add to this the mystery of the author, who has chosen to remain anonymous. There is even some speculation that the author may be a man, although I doubt this, given the inherent underlying feminist principles adopted in the story telling.
I was very sad when this finished but delighted to know that the story continued with the next book, "Story of a New Name".
In summary, this is a book that you will either love or hate. I hope like me, you love it.
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- Dorothy McGarven

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-03-2015
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.