Summer Reading List: My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

The UC Berkeley Summer Reading List is an annual compilation of recommended (though not required) readings suggested by Cal faculty, staff, and students as a welcome to incoming freshmen and transfer students.

“This novel by the Italian author Elena Ferrante (a pen name; no one knows her true identity) is the first of her four Neapolitan Novels: readers who enjoy it will have three more they can look forward to reading. It is about a first and formative friendship between two girls (and later women)–a rare subject in literature. The protagonist, Elena, is the first girl in her working-class family to complete her education and go on to college and a professional career. Her relationship with her “brilliant friend” Lila, who remains rooted in the poor, violent neighborhood in Naples where they grew up, is complicated–they are both kind and cruel to each other, supportive and jealous, affectionate and antagonistic. Each novel in the series is a gripping page-turner that also provides a guided tour of Italy’s political and social evolution since the 1950s.”

– MICHELE RABKIN Associate Director Berkeley Connect

Post contributed by:
Michael Larkin Lecturer, College Writing Programs
Tim Dilworth First Year Coordinator, Library