Culture Street

The unknown author could finally be revealed.

The Neapolitan novels have sold more than one million copies worldwide and have a dedicated fan following. The author, who goes under the name of Elena Ferrante, is Italian but little is known about her. She makes no public appearances and the only interviews conducted have been email interviews where she can hide her true identity.

My Brilliant Friend is the first in the quartet of novels about a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

The story of Elena and Lila begins in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. The two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, sometimes to their own detriment, as each discovers more about who she is and suffers or delights in the throes of their intense friendship.

It is compulsive reading and has sparked reader’s interest about the background of the author.

What we do know about Elena Ferrante is that she is from Naples and probably grew up in the 1950s. She has hinted in interviews that she is a mother.

An Italian historian has suggested Marcella Marmo; a 69-year-old professor who lives in Naples is Ferrante. Marmo and Ferrante’s publisher have both denied the claim.

In a recent interview Ferrante stated, “Physical absence from the public sphere makes writing absolutely central. The rest is uninteresting private life.”

It seems Ferrante will not be drawn to reveal her identity but readers are determined.

You can buy the book here.

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