Tag: Italy

My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

Author:
Series: The Neapolitan Novels
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Italy
The first in The Neapolitan Novels series, My Brilliant Friend tells the story of the friendship of two girls growing up in a poor, rough neighborhood in 1950s Naples, Italy. Lila especially is compelling in her impulsive magnetism, and I related to the bookish reserve of Elena (the narrator), always trying to keep up with her friend even as she, in many ways, surpasses her. As they follow different paths and forge their own identities, the girls weather the push and pull of adolescence experienced amidst the changing political and cultural landscape that surrounds them. These novels are highly acclaimed for their literary merit, panned for their awful covers, and intriguing for the mystery surrounding the identity of Ferrante (a pen name). I will be reading the rest of the series, and I hope to catch the HBO television series adaptation of the novels that is underway. More info →
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Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins

Author:
Genre: Fiction
Tag: Italy
What I love about Beautiful Ruins is how it plays out the smaller-scale dramas of the people caught in the wake of the over-the-top dramas of Hollywood--in this case, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Minor characters in the novel, their relationship reverberates through the lives of the people around them, even decades after the fact. We follow the story from the Italian coast in the 1960s to modern day Scotland and Hollywood. I like stories that fully humanize people who appear to be supporting characters, and Beautiful Ruins is a great reminder that everyone has a backstory, and everyone is the protagonist of their own life--even after the so-called main characters have left the spotlight. More info →
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The Story of a New Name