Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend: Book club guide and discussion.

How Elena Ferrante’s Brutally Entwined Frenemies Magnetized Us All

How Elena Ferrante’s Brutally Entwined Frenemies Magnetized Us All

Discussing new and classic works.
Jan. 9 2015 9:29 AM

The Audio Book Club Makes a Brilliant Friend

Slate critics debate the first of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.


To listen to the Audio Book Club discussion of My Brilliant Friend, click the arrow on the player below.

This month, David Haglund, Katy Waldman, and New York Times Book Review editor Parul Sehgal discuss My Brilliant Friend, the first of reclusive writer Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels about the difficult, lifelong enmeshment of two working-class Italian women. Are Lila and Elena typical girlhood frenemies? What makes Lila, as she is drawn in Elena’s hand, so captivating? Why do so many critics overlook the question of class in these books? And who IS Ferrante, anyway?


The Audio Book Club (perhaps) has answers. 

Next month the Audio Book Club will debate Phil Klay’s National Book Award–winning Redeployment, about the political and psychological impacts of the Iraq War. Read the book and stay tuned for our discussion in February!

Visit our Audio Book Club archive page for a complete list of the more than 75 books we’ve discussed over the years. Or you can listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed.


Podcast produced by Abdul Rufus and Andy Bowers.

David Haglund is the literary editor of NewYorker.com. 

Parul Sehgal is an editor at the New York Times Book Review.

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer.