Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels may be the most critically acclaimed and beloved literary series of the last decade. The four-part series—My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child—follow two women from a poor area in Naples, Italy, as they come of age, rise above their modest class ranks, and test the boundaries of their friendship amid the violent and sometimes repressive culture of their neighborhood.
The story of the timid Elena and the steadfast Lila, the two protagonists who maneuver through the expansive story that features numerous characters who play major roles in their lives, is one that is full of rich texture and drama—and makes for the perfect TV series. A 32-episode adaptation of the novels is underway, a co-production from Italian and American producers, with the first season coming to HBO in November.
The first trailer for My Brilliant Friend depicts Elena and Lila as children in 1950s Naples—a time when the two young girls must fight to earn their spot in school as their friendship blossoms with the intensity that will follow their relationship throughout the next five decades. While an Italian-language series might be a gamble for HBO, the first trailer looks as gorgeous and stunning as Ferrante's words and will certainly give her fans hope that the TV series will retain the novelist's powerful storytelling.