Four Stories About Naples, Plus One By Me

I’m talking about the Naples that comes with this view, not the one down I75 in southern Florida.


I’m in a Neapolitan state of mind, consumed by tales from the ancient city on the Amalfi Sea.

One you can’t read yet, because I’m still writing it (see below). The others, The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, are stunning…and contain what are possibly the most soul gripping words I’ve ever read.

Ferrante is a writer who can turn her characters inside out and back again.

51FQLAw7H3L._AA160_Beginning with the fir51GyvNf5HNL._AA160_st of these four novels, My Brilliant Friend, you’ll know those characters intimately. You’ll love, hate, or admire them; some will disgust you, but you’ll care for them anyway; some you’ll pity; and at least one you’ll recognize as part of yourself. By the second novel, The Story of a New Name, you’re invested emotionally in their future.

You don’t have to ever have been to Naples or even want go there to get hooked by these stories


Back in the ’70s when my taste buds were achieving full adult status, Mimi Sheraton was the food critic for the New York Times. I read her then and I’m reading her now.

1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die is not just about food origins, mythical  or otherwise (“Bouillabaise was invented by Venus to put her husband Vulcan to sleep when she had a rendezvous with Mars”); nor is it only about little known recipes such as Aspargessuppe (a Danish asparagus soup with veal dumplings); nor merely a mail order guide for such ingredients as tamarind paste,Beluga caviar, or Toll House cookies. It’s all this and more. As the sub-title suggests, it’s A Food Lover’s Life List. And it’s a life well fed.

Whether you end up booking a table at Abe and Louie’s in Boston for  America’s best Lobster Savannah,