The first in Elena Ferrante's acclaimed series about a friendship that lasts a lifetime.
From one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is the first in a quartet of books entitled The Neapolitan Novels. They are a forensic exploration of friendship between Lila and the story's narrator, Lena. This is no normal friendship, it's a friendship that loves, hurts, supports and destroys - and yet it is one that lasts a lifetime.
It begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets two girls, Elena and Lila, learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone - or anything - else as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.
It is the story of a nation, of a neighbourhood, a city and a country undergoing momentous change.
This first book centres on their childhood and adolescence.
From the book by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.