York European

neopolitan novels

Friendship in different worlds


If you loved Elena Ferrante’s four ‘Neapolitan Novels’..... >

.....starting with My Brilliant Friend (or have been daunted by taking on such a lengthy read), in the long winter days of lockdown, settle down to the Italian adaptation on DVD of My Brilliant Friend and the second book The Story Of A New Name. Italian director Saverio Costanzo, handpicked by Ferrante, and his team produce evocative settings, lighting and music to match the imagination of the author.

Imagination sparks the friendship, even love story, between two girls, Lila and Lenù (played as children by Ludovica Nasti and Elisa Del Genio, and teenagers by Gaia Girace and Margherita Mazzucco) who can see another world, symbolised by the sea, beyond the poverty, machismo and violence of their neighbourhood in Naples. Both aspire to escape. Their battles with their families, tradition and prejudice bring them together for solace and encouragement, yet at the same time their successes – Lenù’s academic career or Lila’s social and sexual courage – bring friction and competition. The soulmates may separate but forever are drawn back together. Adaptations of the remaining novels are promised…..