Join us

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Newsletter

Elena Ferrante

The Lying Life of Adults

Cover: The Lying Life of Adults - Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante

The Lying Life of Adults

2020, pp. 336, e-Book
ISBN: 9781787702394
Translated by: Ann Goldstein
Region: Italy
Paper Paper Paper
£ 13.99
Pre-order now Pre-order now Pre-order now

The book

A powerful new novel set in a divided Naples by Elena Ferrante, the beloved best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend.

Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself?

She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

“Two years before leaving home my father said to my mother that I was very ugly. The sentence was uttered under his breath, in the apartment that my parents, newly married, had bought in Rione Alto, at the top of Via San Giacomo dei Capri. Everything—the spaces of Naples, the blue light of a very cold February, those words—remained fixed. But I slipped away, and am still slipping away, within these lines that are intended to give me a story, while in fact I am nothing, nothing of my own, nothing that has really begun or really been brought to completion: only a tangled knot, and nobody, not even the one who at this moment is writing, knows if it contains the right thread for a story or is merely a snarled confusion of suffering, without redemption.”

International praise for The Lying Life of Adults

“As you read, a vast panorama of characters slowly unfolds . . . a diverse and dynamic tableau of humanity. Once again, Elena Ferrante has not created a mere story but an entire world.”—Il libraio (Italy)

“[The Lying Life of Adults] has the expansiveness of great literature—from Balzac to Stendhal to the always beloved Proust [. . .] It is a necessary book, which shows women that today they have the capacity to be ‘truthful, fierce, compassionate,’ where Lila and Lenù—narrowly confined within the 20th century—could not, or could only to an extent.”—Il Manifesto

“[The Lying Life of Adults] is highly addictive.”—Elle (Italy)

“Ferrante shows again how she is unbeatable.”—The Times (UK)

“I picked up [The Lying Life of Adults] saying to myself that I would only read a few pages and then stop. Instead, I finished it all in one go, switching off my phone and withdrawing from the world. It is pure reading pleasure, brimming with Ferrante’s narrative intelligence, sincere characters, and signature themes.”—Nadia Terranova on Linkiesta

“Reading a novel by Elena Ferrante is like coming home, like returning to those happy childhood moments—perhaps imaginary—when we asked mom or dad to tell us the same bedtime story over and over again. From the very first sentences, The Lying Life of Adults enfolds and absorbs readers in the same way.”—Vanity Fair (Italy)

“In a story where truths are revealed and constantly overturned and characters inspire in equal measure love and hatred, Ferrante’s voice is at once reassuring, unsettling, mesmerizing.”—La Stampa

“Like in the ‘Neapolitan quartet,’ Ferrante keeps us glued to the page, in awe of her capacity to create characters that have a life-like, almost physical quality—so much so that they keep resurfacing in our mind with stunning vitality even after the book is over.”—Rai Cultura

“A great novel, extremely dense and complex, to be savored page by page. [Ferrante] brings us to vertigo-inducing heights before returning us, greatly enriched, to our daily lives.”—Critica Letteraria

“Elena Ferrante is uniquely able to combine complexity and readability.” —Nicola Lagioia in La Stampa

“Elena Ferrante brings readers back to a world—who knows if it is autobiographical or entirely fictional—that book-after-book we have come to think of as hers. Naples is there from the start, and, most importantly, so too are the indissoluble, complex, painful bond between children and their parents.”—La Repubblica

“Ferrante has managed a seemingly impossible feat for those who spent many sleepless nights captivated by the intricate lives of Lila and Lenù: she makes us forget all about those two girls . . . From the first lines of the new novel, there’s only Giovanna.”—Libero

“[In The Lying Life of Adults] the relationship between Giovanna and her paternal aunt Vittoria is powerful and intense.”—ANSA (Italy)

“[Ferrante’s] prose, deployed with almost tender wisdom, is musical and linear, and plays with atmosphere and dialogue to shed light on her characters’ hearts, on their greatest hopes and burning disappointments.”—Il Messaggero (Italy)

“In her signature way, Ferrante captivates the reader body and soul with a complex, layered, at times brutal novel, where once again the experience of womanhood is at the center of the story.” —Players Magazine

The author

Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008), and the four novels known as the Neapolitan Quartet (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child) which were published by Europa Editions between 2012 and 2015. My Brilliant Friend, the HBO series directed by Saverio Costanzo, premiered in 2018. Ferrante is also the author of Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey (Europa, 2016), a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night (Europa, 2016), and a collection of personal essays illustrated by Andrea Ucini entitled Incidental Inventions (Europa, 2019). The Lost Daughter will be made into a feature film directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Olivia Colman.

Books by region

  • Cover: Atlantis. A Journey in Search of Beauty - Carlo Piano, Renzo Piano

    Carlo Piano, Renzo Piano

    Atlantis. A Journey in Search of Beauty

    2020, pp. 320, £ 14.99
    World-famous architect Renzo Piano and his son Carlo set sail from Genoa one late Summer day, guided by the ancestral desire felt by many explorers...
  • Cover: The Night in Gethsemane - Massimo Recalcati

    Massimo Recalcati

    The Night in Gethsemane

    2020, pp. 80, £ 10.99
    In The Night in Gethsemane, Massimo Recalcati, one of Italy’s highest regarded psychoanalysts, traces the relationship between biblical text...
  • Cover: A Girl Returned - Donatella Di Pietrantonio

    Donatella Di Pietrantonio

    A Girl Returned

    2020, pp. 160, £ 8.99
    Set against the stark landscape of Abruzzo, this novel tells a compelling story about mothers and daughters, about families and responsibilities.
  • Cover: Puppies - Maurizio de Giovanni

    Maurizio de Giovanni

    Puppies

    2020, pp. 352, £ 8.99
    This new instalment in Maurizio de Giovanni’s bestselling “Bastards of Pizzofalcone” series unfolds during the crisp beginning of April in contemporary...
  • Cover: Ties - Domenico Starnone

    Domenico Starnone

    Ties

    2020, pp. 160, £ 8.99
    Ties is the story of a marriage. Like many marriages, this one has been subject to strain, to attrition, to the burden of routine. Yet it has...
  • Cover: The Garden of Monsters - Lorenza Pieri

    Lorenza Pieri

    The Garden of Monsters

    2020, pp. 352, £ 13.99
    A rural epic about warring families in modern Italy and an intimate bildungsroman of the artist’s journey

More suggestions

  • Cover: Remote Sympathy - Catherine Chidgey

    Catherine Chidgey

    Remote Sympathy

    2021, pp. 464, £ 16.99
    The looming presence of the nearby prison camp – lying just beyond a patch of forest – is the only blot to mar what is otherwise an idyllic life...
  • Cover: Interior Chinatown - Charles Yu

    Charles Yu

    Interior Chinatown

    2020, pp. 288, £ 12.99
    Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly...
  • Cover: Your Duck Is My Duck - Deborah Eisenberg

    Deborah Eisenberg

    Your Duck Is My Duck

    2020, pp. 224, £ 8.99
    By turns dark and hilarious, at times solemn and mysterious, Your Duck Is My Duck cements Deborah Eisenberg’s reputation as one of America’s...
  • Cover: The River Within - Karen Powell

    Karen Powell

    The River Within

    2020, pp. 272, £ 16.99
    It is the summer of 1955. Alexander, Tom and his sister Lennie, discover the body of their childhood friend Danny Masters in the river that runs through...
  • Cover: A Girl Returned - Donatella Di Pietrantonio

    Donatella Di Pietrantonio

    A Girl Returned

    2020, pp. 160, £ 8.99
    Set against the stark landscape of Abruzzo, this novel tells a compelling story about mothers and daughters, about families and responsibilities.
  • Cover: My Devotion - Julia Kerninon

    Julia Kerninon

    My Devotion

    2020, pp. 272, £ 13.99
    Are introverted Helen and flamboyant Franck who they really appear to be? Are they victims or monsters? Kerninon’s English language debut, full...