The Italian writer Elena Ferrante is one of my favorite living novelists. She won me over with her heartbreaking 2012 novel, “My Brilliant Friend,” the first volume of a trilogy. It’s the story of two friends, Lila and Elena.
We start when the two are kids, and we follow them into their teenage years and Lila’s marriage. The two girls live in Naples and their families are dirt poor. The girls or people they know suffer many misfortunes. And yet this is an inspirational book. It’s narrated by Elena long after all that she recounts has happened.
There are two great pieces you can read to get up to speed on Ferrante.
The first ran last year in the New Yorker following publication of the first book of her trilogy. Read it here.
More recently, the New York Times ran this review of “Story of a New Name,” the second volume.
Hopefully the third volume will be published in a year or so.