Italian author Elena Ferrante's best-selling, fan-favorite book, My Brilliant Friend, is now a television series on HBO. If you're a fan of the book (and its sequels in the Neopolitan series), you know what a thrill this is.
My Brilliant Friend is the story of Elena and Lila, two young girls growing up in the turbulent, impoverished world of 1950s Naples. The story is told from the point-of-view of Elena, decades later, after Lila has mysteriously disappeared. The two girls share a deep bond; they are drawn together by their curiosity and their love of learning, and Elena recognizes something innately special in Lila. Yet as circumstance steers them in different directions (Elena follows an academic path, while Lila works for her family business) they are faced with decisions that will define their places in the world forever. It's a story that brilliantly captures the experience of being a young woman in that particular place and time, and whether you're watching it on the screen or reading it on the page, it's sure to wrap you up.
If you haven't read the books, you're missing out on one element that makes Elena Ferrante's books magical: her beautiful, brilliant prose. So, here are nine quotes that will give you a taste for Ferrante's writing and Ann Goldstein's translation — and will hopefully inspire you to pick up the book.