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Viccie

My Brilliant Friend

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It seems that everyone has been talking about My Brilliant Friend , the story of two girls growing up in a poverty stricken Neopolitan district in the years after the war.  Lenu, the narrator, is hard-working and conscientious, her friend Lila is brilliantly clever, a star who dazzles first Lenu and then half the neighbourhood, but seems in this book, the first of a quadrology (if that's the word!) to be destined for disappointment and frustration. 

 

As much as a tale of the bond between the two girls it's also a story of the neighbourhood, their neighbours, the changing life in the years after the war, the casual violence which seems to permutate the way everyone acts - tellingly in one scene it's shown that the better off don't behave that way, how fast everyne had to grow up.

 

I found it uttterly absorbing, it's rare that a hyped book lives up to its promise but I hardly moved for several hours reading this on Boxing Day.I was completely drawn into Lenu's world,(which is so densely populated that I had to refer to the the list of characters at the front several times to place certain peple, but that didn't worry me), and love the way she describe a neighbourhood that is so completely different to anything I know with such economy of detail.  It's not a particularly easy read, you have to concentrate, but it's a very rewarding one.  Recommended.

Edited by MisterHobgoblin

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thanks for the review Viccie, I got this in July but haven't yet got to it :)

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It seems that everyone has been talking about My Brilliant Friend , the story of two girls growing up in a poverty stricken Neopolitan district in the years after the war.  Lenu, the narrator, is hard-working and conscientious, her friend Lila is brilliantly clever, a star who dazzles first Lenu and then half the neighbourhood, but seems in this book, the first of a quadrology (if that's the word!) to be destined for disappointment and frustration. 

 

As much as a tale of the bond between the two girls it's also a story of the neighbourhood, their neighbours, the changing life in the years after the war, the casual violence which seems to permutate the way everyone acts - tellingly in one scene it's shown that the better off don't behave that way, how fast everyne had to grow up.

 

I found it uttterly absorbing, it's rare that a hyped book lives up to its promise but I hardly moved for several hours reading this on Boxing Day.I was completely drawn into Lenu's world,(which is so densely populated that I had to refer to the the list of characters at the front several times to place certain peple, but that didn't worry me), and love the way she describe a neighbourhood that is so completely different to anything I know with such economy of detail.  It's not a particularly easy read, you have to concentrate, but it's a very rewarding one.  Recommended.

I agree with you, Viccie, that it's as much - more?- the story of Naples and the rapid development of Italian society in the post war period than of the girls' particular friendship. It's gripping, but in a "goodness, what will the rules and undercurrents of this society throw up now?" kind of way, than in conventional plot and character development. I've devoured number two and number three is waiting on my shelf for the right time to be read.

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I thought this was a very good book. As Viccie says, I also found the character list at the front to be very welcome.

Overall it was really well written though at times I did lose interest in it for a few pages but overall, it was very good.

 

I look forward to reading part 2 :)

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Just finished this for a book club read. It was a good read but maybe not as good as the hype suggests. Lots of characters as others have said and it was difficult at times to remember who was who. It will be interesting to find out what my fellow book club members made of it.

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There is currently being shown on Sky Atlantic a very good adaptation of this novel.  Both of us are really drawn into the lives of the two girls (brilliant casting) and post-war Naples is so well evoked.  Try and catch it.. (Italian:subtitles)

 

 

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I have been watching this, too (I thought I posted, but maybe not).  They've done a terrific job.  And they've emphasized things that were not as obvious to me when I was reading (or that I've forgotten), including the fact that Lila's family was poor and old-fashioned enough that she was denied opportunities that her best friend received and how much resentment she felt because of it.  I hope I realized that as I was reading because it's quite obvious.

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      I saw as for the adaptation of this very good book series advertised for sky Atlantic this morning.
       
      Starts on sky on 19th November
       
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