The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante [7/10]

The searingly intense internal landscapes of Elena Ferrante’s books can divide readers. I know plenty of friends who struggle with her novels and, to tell the truth, I have to work at them, simply because I can get overwhelmed. “The Lying Life of Adults” is a quintessential Ferrante, covering the teen years of Giovanna as she quizzes her identity and her purpose and her sexuality, until she bursts into adulthood. Suffice it to say that the book’s title gets a good working over. And, as usual with this author, the city of Naples hovers as a seamy, vibrant, contradictory character in its own right. In The Lying Life of Adults, Ferrante digs further in on setting, sending Giovanna back and forth between her home in the refined upper heights of Naples and her in-laws’ suburbs in the sordid depths. The author maintain a hypnotic, hectic pace through Giovanna’s years. The prose is fervid and brutal simultaneously. And the frankness of the story never lets up. Summing up, if you adored the Neapolitan quartet, rush to snap this up; if you struggled back then, steel yourself and embrace The Lying Life of Adults for the sake of your appreciation of courageous, immersive modern literature.

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