If You Loved..."My Brilliant Friend"
you may like...
If you were drawn to Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels because of their vivid evocation of the city of Naples, you might enjoy Heddi Goodrich’s 2019 novel Lost in the Spanish Quarter, the story of an American woman studying linguistics at the University of Naples. While living in a communal apartment in Naples’ storied Spanish quarter, she falls in love with an Italian man, confronting the difficulties of their cultural and familial differences and coming to understand herself on her own terms. A romantic, engrossing look at Naples in the contemporary era.--Griffin
If you liked Ferrante’s portrayal of intense female friendship through the characters of Elena and Lila, you might try Doris Lessing’s novel The Golden Notebook. This novel, published in 1962, features four interlocking storylines tied together through the characters of Anna, a writer, and Molly, her best friend. The relationship between Anna and Molly, like that of Elena and Lila, is the major throughline of each of their lives, and takes place against the backdrop of the burgeoning women’s movements in the mid-20th century.--Griffin
If you were captivated instead by the jealousy and heightened emotion that sometimes characterizes the relationship between Elena and Lila, you might be interested in Oyinkan Braithwaite’s 2018 mystery novel, My Sister the Serial Killer. The book’s narrator Korede is the older sister to beautiful, beloved Ayoola. There’s just one problem--Ayoola can’t stop killing her boyfriends. Braithwaite captures the tension and competition inherent in sibling love. And it’s funny, too!--Griffin
If you were interested in Ferrante’s depiction of postwar Italian culture, Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon might appeal to you. This book, originally written in 1963 and rereleased in 2017 by New York Review of Books, depicts the whims and adventures of a family in Turin, living under the impending shadow of Mussolini’s rise to power. Ginzburg is one of Italy’s most celebrated writers, and her work is happily undergoing a major revival.--Griffin
If you enjoyed the Neapolitan Novels because of their deep, intimate exploration of a single character over time, you might be interested in another literary series: the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn. St. Aubyn follows Patrick, his semi-autobiographical protagonist, over the course of four novels that follow him from childhood to fatherhood, with drug benders, family feuding, and catastrophic dinner parties along the way. The books balance a tender examination of trauma with a sense of humor like Oscar Wilde on cocaine, and bring their titular character truly to life.--Griffin