We talked to among our Italian correspondents to dig right into the language and society of Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’!

This month, the soimg.org Book Club has actually been discussing My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. For a full guide to the book, you have the right to read our development here! This week, I disputed the book via Giulia, among our soimg.org writers who functions over in Berlin (and also that happens to be Italian). You deserve to examine out the audio from our full intersee, or check out the highlights listed below.

You are watching: Discussion questions for my brilliant friend

Editor’s Note: At one suggest in the audio, Giulia states the actor playing Lenù as an adolescent is a really renowned Italian actor, however she intended to say that it is the narrator’s voice (likewise Lenù), which is percreated by Alba Rohrwacher. Also, the television present has actually premiered in the United States, however not yet in Italy.

Listen to “soimg.org Publication Club — Ferrante Fever” on Spreaker.


Thomas: Hello! I’m Thomas, a writer here at soimg.org, and also welinvolved one more month of soimg.org Publication Club. As you deserve to tell by the truth that you can’t see my face, we’re doing a slightly various format. We’ve done Facebook Lives in the previous, however this is audio. And also, if you’re reading this, then it’s written dvery own. That’s because we wanted to talk to among the civilization that is not in New York, who’s one of our soimg.org correspondents, Giulia!

Giulia: Hi, hi. I’m calling you from right here, from the Berlin office. I’m the Italian editor here at soimg.org. I am likewise a writer and I love analysis, so I love books. I love talking around books, so right here I am.

Thomas: Perfect guest for us to have, bereason publications. You’re originally from Italy?

Giulia: Yes, from Venice.

Thomas: Right, so we have the right to get an actual perspective from someone who’s from the country where the book was originally publiburned. I desire to gain as many people right here associated as possible.

On Reading The Publication For The First Time

Thomas: Well, we deserve to dive best in! You sassist you initially read this book five years back.

Giulia: Almany five years back, yes.

Thomas: What made you first pick it up? Did you hear about it from other places?

Giulia: Actually, it was an advice from a friend — she said read, My Brilliant Friend, which in Italian is L’amica geniale, the title in Italian is this one. The funny thing is when I review the first book, I didn’t recognize tbelow was three various other book waiting for me, so imagine my joy at the end of My Brilliant Frifinish, that there were three even more. I love them every one of them. I think that I love the first book also even more, bereason at the time I was living in New Zealand also, and I was very exceptionally nostalgic of Italy at that allude. Even though I’ve never saw Napoli — Naples — in my life. I am from Venice and I never had the chance so much, however still, while analysis the book, I might perfectly understand the atmosphere and I was living in an additional nation. That made me miss Italy also more. It was choose a dual love, you know.

Thomas: I started reading the publications appropriate prior to the fourth one came out in the United States, so there were currently many posts out around it.

On Ferrante Fever

Thomas: I stated Ferrante fever before, which is a weird expression. Basically, over here, these publications ended up being incredibly well-known, everyone was analysis them. Now, it’s a mini-series . Earlier we were talking that it’s kind of an Amerideserve to phenomenon.

Giulia: Yeah, so I’m expecting a large Ferrante fever in Italy as well when the series will certainly come out. Not as big as in the UNITED STATE, I think. Twelve years earlier, I don’t recognize if you remember that, some journalist made this analysis on financial institution accounts to uncover the genuine identification of the writer. We don’t understand if the name they uncovered out was genuine or not. We’ll never know, I guess. I don’t want to recognize to be hocolony. I’m happy choose this. I’m expecting the majority of talk and also popularity.

On The Italian And Neapolitan Languages

Thomas: Let’s talk about language for a second, bereason you soptimal Italian, the book is in Italian, and also one thing that’s come up is that it takes location in Naples, so whenever the book says that someone’s speaking in dialect, that indicates they speak in Neapolitan. I think to most civilization outside of Italy, they don’t really understand what that suggests. Is Neapolitan, and also other dialects of Italy, are they like various languages?

Giulia: I come from the exceptionally north of Italy, so the Neapolitan language, it’s choose another language to me. Obviously, I deserve to understand if they don’t sheight as well quick, but for real, it’s prefer hearing an additional language. For example, with the series, I am watching it through the English subtitles, because some parts are extremely very difficult for me. Yes, in the books it was less complicated because with the created language obviously, you have the right to think around it and you have the right to attempt to understand. For me, it was really challenging to understand also the spoken language. Especially because the one, I don’t know if you experienced currently, some episodes of the series, but they soptimal in an extremely very rapid and hard means. I don’t recognize if you hear any kind of difference with the conventional Italian, yet I perform.

Thomas: I guess from the outside, I watched the first two episodes, but I don’t speak any type of Italian, so it simply sort of sounds choose all Italian. There are absolutely times they type of speak to attention to when someone’s speaking language or they’re speaking a gruffer type of Italian, however I don’t think I can pick out anything that would make that, because I simply don’t understand sufficient about the language. In Northern Italy are you simply speaking … you simply call that Italian?

Giulia: No, all Italians sheight the standard Italian, however eincredibly component of Italy has a local language. It depends likewise from the impacts that we had from the other nations, because for instance before Italy it was a nation, tright here provided to be the Austrian domination in the north. That’s why in some components of the north we stop Gerguy. Then, in the south, there was a Spanish and Arabic dominance, so that’s why the impacts on the dialects are incredibly different. I can understand also most of the dialects from the north of Italy, however the additionally southern I go, the much less I understand also, bereason they are extremely different.

On Friendship In The Neapolitan Novels

Thomas: Switching to the significant themes of the book. It appears to be a lot about friendship, which is an extremely common layout in modern fiction. So, Lila and also Lenù are on two various ends of the spectrum. Lenù is smart, but she constantly hregarding put out an extra overt initiative via Lila, that type of effortlessly does whatever she puts her mind to, which is also simply a difficult perchild to get in addition to. What did you think of that dynamic in between these two characters?

Giulia: My favorite is Lila to be hoswarm, also though while analysis the books, there were moments wbelow I hated her because she was suppose. She was clearly intend, yet on the other side, this relationship works because Lila is clearly predominant over Lenù. In my opinion, all the occasions that take place in the 4 publications are sort of revenge of Lila in the direction of Lenù, because Lenù is luckier. She have the right to go to college, she deserve to know people, she deserve to go out of the city of Naples, and on the various other side, Lila is living in the shade. On the various other side, she’s the brilliant one, she’s the one who provided the name to the series. I can understand the frustration of Lila. I deserve to likewise understand why Lenù feels a little little bit obligated to be the best, because she’s lucky and also she deserve to go to school, yet I can also understand also why the partnership functions, bereason there is the predominant one and also the one who is a little bit passive, which is obviously Lenù. I think it’s an extremely fragile balance between the two of them. Sometimes the balance breaks.

Thomas: The balance between the two is exciting, bereason it reminds me many duos in fiction, like you deserve to go ago to Sherlock Holmes and also Watboy, wbelow it’s the incredibly intelligent one and the one sort of informing the story of the other perboy, or for more contemporary example for Americans, Broad City also, where there’s one character who’s a lot even more outgoing and also flamboyant and also the various other who’s even more conservative. I felt when I was reading it that you are type of … well, it’s told from the perspective of Lenù, so you’re kind of relating to her because you can view right into her thoughts, she’s a lot less complicated to relate to.

On The New HBO Miniseries

Giulia: I think it’s extremely well done. I was expecting … while I was analysis the publications, I obviously imagined the confront and the apparel, and also the homes, and everything that was described, and it was perfect. Watching the TV series was choose, “Yes. That’s just how it must look choose because that’s specifically the method I imagined everything.” I check out that in the time of the spreading they observed thousands and also thousands of youngsters to nail the perfect Lila and also the perfect Lenù, and I’d say that they did an extremely excellent alternative. Lila particularly is perfect.

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Thomas: I’m always impressed by any kind of boy actors bereason I can’t imagine having to be in these situations and express emotion choose they carry out. It is just sort of remarkable how it’s choose they acquired the perfect personalities. It’s simply such an obstacle, bereason they both need to make them look favor civilization in the book, but they also, because this mini-series is going to take them throughout pretty their whole life, they have to discover the right human being.

On Loving The Neapolitan Novels

Thomas: Was there anypoint that you took ameans from the publications that you simply loved and also that just stuck with you?

Giulia: When I initially read the book, I wasn’t really thinking around the women’s problems at the time in the time of the ’50s and also ’60s in Italy. I was attracted to the story and the occasions, and the stuff that happened, but currently, as soon as I experienced the TV series focus on these details. You understand I shelp that I loved the teacher character bereason she was encouraging the little girls to be much better, to be independent. Yeah, so I would certainly prefer to reread all the books currently with that in mind. 

Thomas: I’d agree. When you review it first, you simply kind of go through the flow of the story and also don’t think around the historic nature of it, yet tright here is just the majority of real-civilization influence, which is why I guess world are so convinced that it have to be based on a genuine story, because it’s just so based in the actual Naples at that time. Well, I guess via that, we’ll wrap up this month’s conversation, so that it doesn’t go on forever before. Thank you for anyone who listens and also we’ll be earlier with another book next month!