Elena Ferrante: My Brillant Friend

Reading new authors makes me excited every time. It is like first date: Is she/he going to like me? Am I going to like her /him? I started reading Ferrante’s novel with these feelings. I am sympathetic to Italian life. I have the feeling that they are kinda close to our Turkish living. Cosy kitchens, strong family relations and trespassing individuals’ lives all the time having no idea of individual space. I think I was right about my stereotypical approach towards Italians. And of course there is this unseen tie between all social classes of the world. More or less same problems, same expectations from life and same disappointments.

Ferrante seemingly tells the story of two girls Lina and Lila. However, beyond these girls amazing imagination and survival strategies towards life you see Italian working class way of life. Poor neighbourhoods and increasing estrangement of young people from their families especially thanks to education. Similarly in Turkey education is still the major tool for social mobilisation. Estrangement from old habits, families and poor and ugly neighbourhoods is inevitable for educated young people.

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I am putting Turkish book cover that I liked more than English cover.

This story somehow touched my heart because I had a more or less similar friendship. I am coming from a working class family too. My childhood friend and I always dreamed of being writers. She stopped school after high school and got married in couple of years later. I continued my education that I became a PhD finally. Invisible distance between us increased in years. She wrote an unpublished young adult novel couple of years ago which I did not quite admired.

When I read Ferrante’s novel, I remembered all these timeline. I had this awkward  movements when you feel like someone spied on your life. I do not think I need to say more about how beautifully written this novel is. It gave me that bitter sour feeling but I loved it.

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