(My review on goodreads)
Ferrante is a master story teller. She is able to start a scene, veer off to a 20 page digression to explain the events that led to the scene, and resume, and make it all seem natural and inevitable.
I think what struck me most about this novel is the sense that this is a kind of memory, rich in detail and psychological insight, and organized in a way that memory never is. The complex and changing relationships between the children of the neighborhood as they grow into adolescence seems like something that nobody could ever reconstruct from their own experience, but also like nothing that could arise from pure imagination.
The only other novel I can recall that comes close to this level of experiential detail is A Dance to the Music of Time and I think that My Brilliant Friend actually surpasses the best of that series.