My Brilliant Friend

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2015
12 hours 39 minutes
Now an HBO series: the first volume in the New York Times bestselling “enduring masterpiece” (The Atlantic) about a lifelong friendship between two women from Naples

Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Elena Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its main characters, the fiery and unforgettable Lila and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflicted friendship.

This first novel in the series follows Lila and Elena from their fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. 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 two women.
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Yareli Nava

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

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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!!

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Karen B

Good narrator and good book. They fit well together.

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Alexandra H.

I can’t wait to listen to the next book!

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Egle Z.

It is the first time I have read a book by this extremely famous author. I really liked how she explored the relationships between the characters. I am going to continue exploring this series of books.

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Clare R.

A lovely slow amble through a coming of age story in small town Italy. Beautifully written and very beautifully narrated. In fact, it it wasn't for the narrator, I am sure I wouldn't have finished the book because the focus is on the experience, not the storyline, and as a result, it is quite slow. If the next book is by the same narrator, I will probably listen to it too. It is good company on long walks or travel.

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Louise H.

Love these novels, so atmospheric. An absolute joy to listen to.

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Claire B.

I'm getting through this slowly but surely. It was recommended to me by someone who'd read the book and is a bit drawn out for audio I'd say. Also not much along the lines of action as yet (I have about 4 hours to go). Narrator's attempts at an Italian accent are.. American, otherwise she is great. The most important failing for me is the actual story of this girl who reveres a girl her age, who to me is a total ****. An interesting character, but the girl from whom the story is narrated, is a frustrating account of how she never feels as good as this "friend". She needs to stop comparing herself and notice she is also brilliant (and much nicer overall). On the whole, I'm enjoying it, but I wouldn't highly recommend it.

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L L.

I loved this book. The characters grow on one. I can't wait to get the next one!

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Erica U.

Loved the story, couldn’t stop listening! I also liked the narrator though I know some people don’t. I just finished the first book and immediately bought the next in the series.

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Dion P

I was urged to read this book as I live on the island of Ischia which is referenced at various stages. Although I found the book and the narration very engaging at times, my overall feeling was one of disappointment. I knew that this wouldn't be a book with much "action" so to speak but I was surprised by how few actual events occurred. The main emphasis centres around perceptions of relationships and the growing pains (physical and mental) of a young girl growing up in Naples. I do understand why the books are so revered but this really isn't a genre that I enjoy and I won't be listening to the other books in the series. I thought the narrator was fairly good though.

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Eranthi A

Beautiful story

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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