I know I have been gone a while but I have been on a reading streak and finished Brooklyn and now on to My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante translated by Ann Goldstein.
The book starts by introducing Elena and Lila in their present day. Lila has gone and Elena has no idea where she is. The book then jumps back in time to the 1950s when they are children in elementary school, as time goes on a competition starts between the two girls who is the best at something. Lila always winning with Elena making sure not to be last. At the end of school both girls are given the chance to move onto middle school with only Elena’s parents deciding to continue her education.
Their friendship then begins to change Elena is now becoming first and Lila is helping at home and helping with the family business, and trying to keep up with Elena even studying Latin and Italian to push Elena further. At the end of middle school boys are introduced into the mix and the changes both of them are going through. All the boys seem to be enchanted by Lila and Elena is back being second best.
With Elena passing with high marks in middle school she then moves onto high school where she is challenged even more and pushing Lila aside focus on being the best. This starts to show a strain that anyone can relate to. Elena’s relationship with Lila changes even more with Lina not in school boys are hanging off her every word and fight to be hers. After being forced into an engagement she doesn’t want Lila finds her true love and persuades her parents that she should marry him instead. The book ends at Lilia’s wedding and Elena now feeling like she cannot be last once more.
I have already started recommending this book to everyone and have already started the second in the Neapolitan Novels. Reading the books anyone can relate to them and get hooked instantly, I cannot wait to finish book two and the rest of the series.
Bye for now
On the evening of day 2 we were knackered and headed right to bed, we decided that night that we would try and see all the docklands stuff as the tour bus had passed the area and it looked interesting. After a lazy morning we headed into town to find the famine statues, after walking for what felt forever we asked someone for directions to find out we had passed the statues and had to turn around and walk all the way back to Custom House.
The statues were beautiful depicting different parts of the famine and how it affected those involved. As we were right by Custom House we popped in, the building which was used in the 18th century was very grand with high ceilings and was partially rebuilt due to the 1921 war of independence, the building is partially restored with a different stone so half of the building is in white stone and the restored part is in a grey irish stone.
Once we were finished looking through Custom House we walked back towards Temple Bar and found the National Gallery, I do not know a lot about Irish painters so I found it fascinating they also had Rooftops in Paris by Van Gogh which I had never seen before ,a Monet and work from some of his students. My favourite pieces were Early Morning in Connemara and Dawn, Connemara by Paul Henry and Irish artist who focused on Irish landscape portraits.
After wondering around town for a while we decided to pop into the tourist office by Trinity College for suggestions on how to spend our last day and a half. They were very helpful suggesting we take a half day trip out to the countryside but we decided on the Irish Whisky Museum which I found fascinating. The tour gives you a history of whisky while traveling through different room depicting a significant time in Irish whisky. At the end you get a tasting and told information about each of the whiskies and how they differ from the previous one. If you are over 18 and have an afternoon free I would go check it out it is right by the Trinity tourist office.
On our final half day we stayed on our side of the river so we would be close to the hotel. After a relaxing morning of packing we wondered down the road and went to a 1916 rebellion exhibition which was at the ambassador theatre that had been taken over. It had a short documentary playing and a more in depth look into the events of 1916 and artifacts from the Easter Rising. On the 50th anniversary the men of the rebellion were celebrated so the 100th anniversary celebrated the women of the rebellion . As we walked round the attraction each important member of the events were given a detailed description of how they were involved and what their outcome was. The only survivors were the women all the men were killed at Kilmainham Gaol, as you continued through the museum you came across recreated scenes of importance from the rebellion like the post office, the gaol and moore street.
Afterwards we moved onto the Writers Museum based just round the corner from where we had stayed. Situated in an 18th century mansion each of the rooms had work from famous writers and some lesser know writers as well. Each room had images of the writers, their work and some personal letters or objects that were significant to them. Once we left it made me want to read some of the work of Beckett and Joyce now having some background knowledge about them and their work.
I loved this trip and would love to go back soon and try and get to the countryside parts, now I have got the holiday blues and have already started to plan my next trip this time to somewhere sunny hopefully.
Bye for now