NEW YORK TIMES: " Naples is a mosaic of strong, disruptive emotions"

The New York Times celebrates Naples and Elena Ferrante, Italian writer of several best sellers including "The Genial Friend", also published abroad with the title of "My Brilliant Friend" and which followed three other volumes.

"The historic center of Naples drips with Old World charm — faded laundry strung between buildings, fish shops spilling tubs of clams and eels onto the sidewalk, pasticcerie tucked near Renaissance churches.

But I was looking for something else. I had come to Naples without a guidebook or even a map, in search of a disheveled neighborhood of “flaking walls” and “scratched doors,” where the “wretched grey” of the buildings clashed with the passion and repression of the characters of the writer Elena Ferrante. Armed only with her series of Neapolitan novels, I was in search of a city that — through four weighty volumes, best sellers both in the United States and Italy — had become a character itself: dangerous, dirty and seductive, the place everyone yearns to leave behind, and the place they can’t shake.

As I discovered during a visit in September, the series of books offered a unique view of this complicated city, leading me away from popular tourist sites and helping to explain the city’s social, economic and geographic divisions. To view the Naples of Ms. Ferrante is to view Naples like a native.

Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym for the author of seven books, most prominently the Neapolitan novels — gritty, unflinching portraits of female friendship set against a backdrop of political and social upheaval in Italy from the 1950s to the present. Ever since the 2012 publication of the series’ first book, “My Brilliant Friend,” Ms. Ferrante has become one of modern literature’s greatest enigmas — media-averse and resolutely anonymous..."

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