My Brilliant Friend is the first novel in a four part series known as the "Neapolitan Quartet." The series includes My Brilliant Friend (2012), The Story of a New Name (2013), Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2014), and The Story of the Lost Child (2015). All of these novels are set primarily in the city of Naples, Italy, and tell the story of a long and complicated friendship between two women. The novels were all written originally in Italian, and have been translated into English by Ann Goldstein.
My Brilliant Friend received strong reviews, and generated excitement about the continuation of the series. It was among the nominees for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The novel contains elements of historical fiction, as it describes events dating back to the 1950s. It can also be considered both a bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel) and kunstlerroman (development of the artist novel), since it describes the childhood and adolescence of Elena Greco as she matures into adulthood and establishes her identity as a writer. Additionally, the novel contains strong feminist elements as it explores the ways in which Elena and her friend Lila's experiences are shaped by their gender.
My Brilliant Friend has not yet been adapted to film or television, but there is the possibility of television miniseries based on the entirety of the Quartet.