Tag: 1950s setting

Elena Ferrante’s — My brilliant friend *****

Elena Ferrante’s — My brilliant friend *****

From childhood, Elena and Lina are friends. Throughout the 1950s, they know nothing of Naples—the city they live in beyond the impoverished suburb they inhabit. Elena struggles to be first in class, but realizes she will always be second to Lina. When they reach adolescence, their lives take different directions, but will either of them be able to escape into a different life from the reality of their deprived mothers?

This is a compelling step into the Italian mentality of the times, from the limited lives of women to the overbearing macho mentality of the men who frequently react with violence. 

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

In the 1950s when U.S. servicemen were based in Japan, Naoko meets a navy officer and they soon fall in love. Naoko arranges for the sailor to meet her parents, but her family are set on her marrying Satoshi who is from a respectable Japanese family. Marrying a gaijin would bring shame on the household. Decades later, when Tori’s father is on his deathbed back in the U.S., he hands her a letter addressed to Naoko that mentions their daughter. This note, and stories her father told her in childhood from his time in Japan, send Tori on a journey to Japan in search of a sister.