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The Lying Life of Adults: A Novel by [Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein]
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The Lying Life of Adults: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 7,037 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2020: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series sparked readers around the world to immerse themselves in the intricate and intimate world of a neighborhood in Naples—the families, the friends, the lovers, the enemies, and the drama of life, loss, loyalty, and love. Ferrante and her translator, Ann Goldstein, revealed a world of extreme interiority that was richly satisfying and bursting with authenticity. And it’s thrilling to share that her new novel, The Lying Life of Adults, which follows Giovanna through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, is just as rewarding. As she takes to heart her aunt’s maxim to “look, look carefully," an entirely new world opens up to Giovanna—one that simultaneously frightens and excites even as it changes her whole perception of her parents, the city she loves, and the people around her. Reading Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults is to be fully consumed by the contradictions and complexities of the human spirit, and it’s exhilarating indeed. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review


★ “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

“Nowhere else, as much as in The Lying Life of Adults, do we see Ferrante’s splendidly harsh laws of physics so clearly laid out. Ugliness may hurt, but it is a hurt that strikes clean and true; ugliness may not be pretty, but sometimes it is unbearably beautiful.”—Sarah Chihaya, Los Angeles 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

“Biographical details don’t allow us to understand a person. Knowing what someone said is not the same as knowing what they meant. Our true selves appear only through the act of storytelling. We get to know Giovanna by watching her juggle multiple versions of her life rather than by reading one clear interpretation of it. And this, too, is how we should hope to know Ferrante.”—Cleveland Review of Books

“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


“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)

“Ferrante’s page-turner talent for suspenseful storytelling and vigorously peopled scenes is on peak form.”—The Times, Best Fiction Books of 2020

“There is an undeniable pleasure in experiencing the world through Ferrante’s lens. Her characters have a physical quality that is difficult to quantify. The Lying Life of Adults will definitely satisfy hardcore fans as well as win her new ones.”—The Winnipeg Free Press

--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07ZPJ2BR5
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Europa Editions (September 1, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 1, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1437 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 367 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.9 out of 5 stars 7,037 ratings

About the author

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Elena Ferrante is the author of seven novels, including four New York Times bestsellers; The Beach at Night, an illustrated book for children; and, Frantumaglia, a collection of letters, literary essays, and interviews. Her fiction has been translated into over forty languages and been shortlisted for the MAN Booker International Prize. In 2016 she was named one of TIME’s most influential people of the year and the New York Times has described her as “one of the great novelists of our time.” Ferrante was born in Naples.

Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5
7,037 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Loved Brilliant Friend; hated this.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing!!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 9, 2020
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Bryony Barker
3.0 out of 5 stars 3/5. A book about growing up so intricately written it was almost uninviting to read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Elena Ferrante - brand or author?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2020
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Francine Palant
4.0 out of 5 stars Falling out of love with the “perfect” parents
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2020
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