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My Brilliant Friend

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Elena Ferrante

Narrated By: Hillary Huber

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: April 2015

Duration: 12 hours 41 minutes

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 trilogy, Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations—a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her work.

“A compelling and moving coming-of-age story set in an impoverished neighborhood struggling to come into its own in a rapidly shrinking world. Celebrated Italian author Ferrante’s unflinching and insightful prose…is captivating and hopeful here and will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.”—Booklist (starred review)

Genres:

  • Ginnie White

    I really enjoyed this book. I started reading it in paperback but found it hard to follow with all the characters. Much easier to listen to on audiobook. I am planning on listening to the other 3

  • Sarah Monroy

    Great narration and telling of this story. I read the text to nearly the end but then finished via audio. I highly recommend the story.

  • Gudbjorg H leaman

    I enjoyed the story, but I found the narrator spoiled it. She was trying to act out the characters, but her acting was pretentious and they all sounded the same. It would be much better if she just stuck to reading the story clearly. Also she read to fast at times.

  • Rosemarie Hoffmann

    After the slow and detailed minutiae of being a child in small-town Italy, the pace seems to pick up when the girls reach adolescence. It seemed a good glimpse into the daily life of the working class and attendant oppression of women. I hung on through my boredom and was rewarded with a cliff-hanger ending.

  • Nancy Drad

    I enjoyed the narrator and intonation she used throughout the book. It was easy to follow when conversation was taking place between characters. The story was a good listen but at times I felt that it moved too slowly and that too much time was spent describing the same thing over and over again. It is not a book you can listen to in a short period of time unless you have 12 spare hours. I enjoyed it enough to purchase the second book in the Trilogy.

  • Julie Wolf

    I loved this book, the characters, the prose, and style of writing. Though at times the booked moved slowly, the words were so rich in detail and description that it was worth the initial quieter pace to reach a plot crescendo. We have traveled extensively in Italy and also have distant relatives still living there; this book explains so much of of the family and social values that are there yet somewhat hidden in it's culture and society. It reminded me very much of the American Classic book "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Could not wait to start the 2nd book in this series. Also found the narrator's pacing and voice changes when needed were very well done. Highly recommend!!

  • Teresa Burns Gunther

    It's an interesting read, exploring issues of class and women's rights in Italy after the war and beyond. Much to like about the book. It gets bogged down and tedious at times, and seems redundant. Still I continued through wanting to find out what happened next. The point of view switches and the first person narrator seems to know all about what happens in scenes in which she does not appear. She also knows how others are feeling. It's hard to distinguish the characters as there are many and first and last names are interchanged in scenes. It's also hard at times to know who's speaking. This may be the narrator. She tends to use the same voice for all characters. I find her reading style detracts from the enjoyment of the book and may be a large part of why I don't give this a higher rating. She puts too much of herself into the book, performing rather than reading it, giving all of the women a cynical tone. The narrator is meant to be naive and underexposed yet she is presented by the reader in a very cynical tone with a flat affect that doesn't fit.

  • Yareli Nava

    Amazing book and the audio book way better!!! The expressions the narrator had and how she spoke, amazing!

  • Julie Ciaccia

    Richly told with layers of cultural interest. Because it is a translation, the language, behaviors, and attitudes of the characters are so believable. The clash between generations, genders, political parties, working classes and more creates a very engrossing story.