Fiction

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

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The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante PDF Book

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER. Soon to be a NETFLIX Original Series.

A POWERFUL NEW NOVEL set in a divided Naples by ELENA FERRANTE, the New York Times best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.

“There’s no doubt [the publication of The Lying Life of Adults] will be the literary event of the year.”—ELLE Magazine

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

Book information

  • Originally published: November 7, 2019
  • Author: Elena Ferrante
  • Genres: Coming-of-age story, Domestic Fiction

Review by reader

★ “A girl, a city, an inhospitable society: Ferrante’s formula works again!”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

★ “Ferrante’s ability to draw in her readers remains unparalleled. [ . . . ] The novel simmers with overt rage toward parental deception, teachers’ expectations and society’s impossible ideals of beauty and behavior.”—BookPage (Starred Review)

★ “Fans of Ferrante’s first two Neapolitan novels, My Brilliant Friend (2012) and The Story of a New Name (2013), will especially revel in Giovanna’s confessional, perceptive, gut-wrenching, and often funny narration of what she calls her ‘arduous approach to the adult world.’”—Booklist (Starred Review)

“What a relief it is when an author who has written a masterpiece returns to prove the gift intact.”—Dayna Tortorici, The New York Times Book Review

“[The Lying Life of Adults] is suspenseful and propulsive; in style and theme, a sibling to [Ferrante’s] previous books. But it’s also a more vulnerable performance, less tightly woven and deliberately plotted, even turning uncharacteristically jagged at points as it explores some of the writer’s touchiest preoccupations.”—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

“In The Lying Life of Adults, Ms. Ferrante once again, with undiminished skill and audacity, creates an emotional force field that has at its heart a young girl on the brink of womanhood.”—Anna Mundow, Wall Street Journal

The Lying Life of Adults affirms that Ferrante is an oracle among authors, writing literary epics as illuminating as origin myths, explaining us to ourselves.”—Claire Luchette, O, The Oprah Magazine

“Ferrante is a specialist in composure: the drama of achieving, losing, feigning, and regaining composure is central to her work.”—Elaine Blair, New York Review of Books

“Ferrante’s signature frankness about sex and the unruly female body exist alongside reflections on the unreliable stories we share about ourselves.”—Tomi Obaro, BuzzFeed

The Lying Life of Adults is slinky and scowling as a Neapolitan cat [ . . . ] Gentility, manners and even ideals have no power over sex, which is for Ferrante’s characters an almost ungovernable force.”—Annalisa Quinn, NPR

“Yes, this book lives up to its author’s reputation, and then some. [ . . . ] Giovanna’s fate, containing elements both expected and unexpected, makes her one of this year’s most memorable heroines.”—Bethanne Patrick, The Boston Globe

“Exquisitely moody [ . . . ] A marvelously disconcerting novel of disillusionment.”—Merve Emre, The Atlantic

“Novels like The Lying Life of Adults do indeed contain wisdom [and] Ferrante lets us both share the intensity of this formative experience and be amused by it. As in the Neapolitan novels, and in much of the best first-person fiction, the relationship between telling one’s life story and understanding oneself is central. As long as it is as well-told as Ferrante’s version, it is a story we never tire of.”—Marion Winik, The Washington Post

“A wild shuffle of moments exhilarating and torturous, The Lying Life of Adults reads like a distillation of adolescence itself.”—Lauren Mechling, Vogue

The Lying Life of Adults reads like an intimate confession or urgent confidence, and it will leave the reader as shaken and invigorated as it does its young protagonist.”—Jenny Shank, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Ferrante makes Naples come alive in her latest literary feat.”—Newsweek

“Ferrante is still Ferrante — her characters have wide-spanned souls and so does Naples, exuding the smells of the sea and gasoline and baking crust.”—Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times

“Prepare to be obsessed all over again.”—Town and Country

“[The Lying Life of Adults] has a timeless quality—the turmoil, judgment and bewildering choices that girls face as their bodies morph and their minds begin to explore independent thought are eternal.”—Belinda Luscombe, TIME Magazine

“The narrative itself is captivating: an up-close portrait of a woman reflecting back on the mysterious years of her adolescence, the transition from child to adult, from youthful ignorance to a deeper, more complicated understanding about her city, those around her, and ultimately, herself.”—Rachel Duboff, Los Angeles Review of Books

The Lying Life of Adults should absolutely be at the top of your TBR list this September.”—Barnes & Noble Reads

“[Ferrante is] a writer whose work transcends genre.”—Lewis Beale, The Daily Beast

“Ferrante’s depiction of pubescent angst leaps off the page, never flinching away from the agony of minor humiliations [ . . . ] Ferrante knows exactly how to tell a story.”—Claire Fallon, Huffington Post

The Lying Life of Adults shares with Ferrante’s great Neapolitan novels the sly knack of undercutting whatever straightforward thing it seems to be saying on its surface.”—Laura Miller, Slate

“It’s a safe bet that the mysterious Ferrante’s new stand-alone novel, about a teenage girl scouring Naples in search of the estranged aunt with whom she allegedly bears a resemblance, will be one of the most book-clubbed books of the year.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Lying Life of Adults is a gripping novel about coping with change and creating the closure you need to move forward.”—ForeWord Reviews

“With the publication of The Lying Life of Adults, we see an author at her peak.”—Asymptote Magazine

“Ferrante has a gift, perhaps even a genius, for making great literature out of melodrama.”—Judith Thurman, The New Yorker

INTERNATIONAL PRAISE FOR THE LYING LIFE OF ADULTS

“Elena Ferrante is so good [ . . . ] An astonishing, deeply moving tale of the sorts of wisdom, beauty and knowledge that remain as unruly as the determinedly inharmonious faces of these women.”—The Guardian

“Ms Ferrante’s unique style—again superbly captured by Ann Goldstein’s translation—is as urgent as ever, proceeding by confrontation and volcanic self-revelation, with little traditional description.”—The Economist

The Lying Life of Adults is the most intense writing about the experiences and interior life of a girl on the cusp of adulthood that I have ever read. It is brilliant.”—Financial Times

“Somehow, Ferrante finds and asks the question that is at the heart of the adolescent experience, that underscores all the pettiness and the posturing and the bravado and the crippling self-doubt.”—Esquire (UK)

About the Author

Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), which was made into a film directed by Roberto Faenza, Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), adapted by Mario Martone, and The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), soon to be a film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. She is also the author of Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019), illustrated by Andrea Ucini, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016) and a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016).

The four volumes known as the “Neapolitan quartet” (My Brilliant FriendThe Story of a New NameThose Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) were published by Europa Editions in English between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018.

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