Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings

It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.  The excerpts shared are from the Kindle version I purchased from Amazon.

 My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1) 

Beginning:  PROLOGUE  Eliminating All the Traces

This morning Rino telephoned.  I thought he wanted money again and I was ready to say no.  But that was not the reason for the phone call: his mother was gone.

56% of Ebook:  "Hesitantly we went up past Santa Caterina.  But after a while Lila had second thoughts, stopped, said that she was going back to her brother.  We tried to persuade her to stay with us, but she wouldn't listen."

My thoughts:   After hearing so much advance buzz for this book, I was excited when one of my book clubs chose it for discussion this month.  Sadly for me, the book didn't live up to the hype, and I don't plan to continue on in the trilogy.  I didn't connect with the characters (so numerous I had to keep referring to the family chart at the beginning of the book) or the way of life and customs of the village.  While it wasn't a good fit for me, there are many readers who have already had, or will have, a pleasurable experience reading this story and subsequent books.

From Goodreads:  A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.

Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction:
The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction. 

Which book are you reading now or about to start?

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings was originally published by Catherine for This post cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are appreciated.

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