“My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante,  is a brilliant read, if somewhat elusive at the start. This mirrors the enigmatic aspect of the novelist herself: Who is she? Is part of the draw-card the setting in Naples, that boisterous and "dangerous" city to the south of Rome? Many English speaking readers of these books, have been raving about them. Others have been wondering what all the hype is about. I must admit I was put off, at first glance, by the long list of characters at the beginning of the novel. It reminded me of a Shakespearean play. Ten  groups,  mainly family ones, contain nearly fifty characters, including their names and their roles. I only read the list after I finished reading the book. I preferred to let the narrator introduce the characters bit by bit, during the unfolding of events. Then I soon became entranced and pulled along by the characters, especially the two women. my-brilliant-friend