My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is a great read. Yes, there is some drama, and intensity, but I most appreciated the look into real life growing up poor in Italy in the 1950’s. I am very interested in seeing how the two protagonists’ lives progess. I would definitely take this with me camping or on vacation, it’s not so involved that you can’t put it down, but makes you want to go back and find out what happens next, perfect for a summer read. Here’s an “official” synopsis; it provides an overview much more eloquently than I can.
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. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on 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, 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, the unforgettable Elena and Lila. Europa Editions