Lying Life of Adults

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UPC: 9781609455910
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Authors: Elena Ferrante
  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Hardcover : 324 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1609455916
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1609455910

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.


★ “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)

“[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

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

“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

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

“[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 Lying Life of Adults should absolutely be at the top of your TBR list this September and should come as no surprise that an original series has already been picked up by Netflix.”—Barnes & Noble Reads

“Ferrante’s books deal with subject matter that in the hands of a lesser writer could be soap opera or pulp. Marriage, divorce, affairs, domestic and child abuse, class issues, sex, even organized crime—they’re all there, but in the hands of a writer whose work transcends genre.”—Lewis Beale, The Daily Beast

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, deftly synthetizing the density of her first three novels with the sprawling quality of the Neapolitan Novels, all while managing to uncover complex and challenging human truths.”—Asymptote Magazine

“As with all great fiction, the local touches on the universal, surely striking chords with everyone, male or female, who remembers the confusions, dangers, and temptations of adolescence. Another work of genius, in short […] The Lying Life of Adults simply enriches a magnificent canon which began with Troubling Love nearly 30 years ago. There’s not a weak page, let alone a weak novel, among the eight to date.”—The Arts Desk

“An incendiary portrait of the volcanic currents of sex and betrayals rumbling away beneath polite society, it hints at more to come.”—The Daily Mail

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

“In The Lying Life of Adults, Ferrante highlights the bitter and sometimes brutal insecurity of being a teenager. It’s the sort of coming-of-age story that captures the uncertainty we feel when we begin to see our parents and other grown-ups as real people—and flawed ones, at that.”—AFAR Magazine


“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

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

“Like Balzac’s Paris and Dickens’s London, Ferrante’s Naples [ . . . ] is a starkly divided metropolis. From this gorgeous and squalid two-tier city that haunts her imagination comes another compulsive novel.”—The Sunday 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)

“Modern, urgent, truthful.”—The Telegraph

“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

“Ferrante shows again how she is unbeatable at pulling you inside the mind of a teenage girl, making you see how everything that looks irrational from the outside—the moods, the silences, the jealousy, fears, tears and resentments—are utterly logical and reasonable.”—The Times (UK)

The Lying Life of Adults brilliantly explores the maelstrom of adolescence.”—Le Figaro

“Elena Ferrante's eighth novel offers a unique reflection on the psychology of adolescence and the transition to adulthood in a female body.”—FranceInfo

“Ferrante’s characters are reminiscent of Russian dolls, each one containing another doll, then another, until the final, enigmatic one.”—La Croix

“This Bildungsroman, in which disillusionment is key to Giovanna’s unwitting transformation from child to adult, succeeds above all thanks to the deep psychology of Ferrante’s characters and the realism of her descriptions.”—L’Echo

“Ferrante uses her inimitable talent as a storyteller to render the psychological upheavals of her young heroine.”—BibliObs, “Our 21 Favorite Novels Since the Beginning of 2020”

“With her mordant writing, the great and mysterious author plunges readers into the heart of the internal cyclone that is shaking a teenage girl. A brilliant Bildungsroman.”—Télérama

“[The Lying Life of Adults] has the magnitude 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)

“Elena Ferrante is an expert chronicler of adolescence and its many indignities, as well as its erratic, overwhelming passions.”—The Observer

“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

“[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

“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

“Painful, powerful, dark, and brutal—mostly because of the characters who surround Giovanna, the protagonist. Because she, at least, has one great, abiding quality: she cannot lie to herself.”—L’Osservatore Romano

“Well worth the wait, [The Lying Life of Adults] is classic Ferrante: a gem for longtime fans and a perfect compendium of her signature themes and style for those reading her for the first time.”—Esquire (Italy), A Best Book of 2019

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.

Ann Goldstein has translated into English all of Elena Ferrante’s books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Story of the Lost Child, which was shortlisted for the MAN Booker International Prize. She has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and is the recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award. She lives in New York.