Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend: No publicity is publicity

Who hides behind the pseudonym Elena Ferrante?

My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante) Cover

My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante) Book Cover

Let’s take a look at 2018’s global literary success saga: « My Brilliant Friend ».

Set in Naples, Italy in the 1950’s, « My Brilliant Friend » tells the story of two childhood friends. Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo try to navigate through life in a city that seems to be permanently boiling with rage, poverty and injustice.

The accuracy of the tale would lead to believe that the writer, who picked the same name as her narrator, has experienced the same type of life. While some speculate that Ferrante could actually be a man, it doesn’t seem credible. Ferrante talks too well about the struggles of being female in a male-dominated society. She evokes the rise of feminist movements, domestic violence and how it was tolerated, the tabout of sexuality. Her eye on the topics manages to be accurate without becoming too emotional.

However, she insists on remaining faceless. She refuses face-to-face interviews and has only given a handful of written ones. She never makes personal appearances and no photographs of her have been published. As a result, her identity is a complete mystery.

On Twitter, the hashtag #FerranteFever allows readers to speculate about her life. Most theories believe that she was born in or near Naples, has been married, possibly had a child and has graduated from high-school and studied afterwards. All over the world, newspapers such as The Guardian or Le Figaro have tried to figure out who she is.

The whole point of her remaining anonymous, according to her, is for people to focus on the book and the story. It seems that the contrary happened instead.

In other news, « My Brilliant Friend » will be adapted into a TV Series shortly, produced by HBO.

Thanks for reading. Let us know if you have any theories regarding Ferrante, and if you enjoyed the books!

Ilana Bouneau

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