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Publisher's Summary

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

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 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: a Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and a Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between both 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 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, listeners will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

A Most Anticipated Book of 2020

  • The New York Times Book Review
  • Vogue
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Elle Magazine
  • BuzzFeed
  • The Millions
  • The Seattle Times
  • USA Today
  • Town & Country
  • Thrillist 
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Library Journal
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • BookPage
  • Literary Hub
  • BBC Culture
©2020 Elena Ferrante (P)2020 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Lying Life of Adults

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kay
  • 02-09-20

Disappointed

I have been looking forward to this for a long time and I don't like it at all. The narration is unbearable and I can not listen to it anymore. The story is boring. I feel it is nothing like the Neapolitan Novels, which I loved so much. I might have kept going, but I can't tolerate the performance any longer, it is just not a pleasant experience.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 04-09-20

disappointed with Marisa

I thought that the writing was brilliant. She captures teenage angst, well really human behaviors, motivations so tenderly- that kept me listening. However, as much as I find Marisa Tomei a fine actor, she was awful as a reader of this story...wayyyy overacted, terrible accents that were caricatures of New York Italians. Early on, I decided to ignore her and persevere. Worthwhile listen despite her.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-20

Audio Narration was a turn off

I listened to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels and loved the narration.

I wanted to return this book because of the audio narration.

The theatrics spoke louder than the words in the book, forcing the reader to feel a certain way.

Quite annoying!

I recently listened to Anna Karanina by Maggie Gyllenhall abd was amazed by the understated demeanor of the narrator which allowed the reader to absorb the story.
I plan to read the hard copy of the book to truly enjoy it.

9 people found this helpful

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  • J casey
  • 13-09-20

Disappointing

I loved the Neapolitan series and decided to purchase this latest book. I found the book disappointing because it was full of anger, with characters whom I could not relate. I also miss the original narrator from the series. Perhaps if read instead of listening, I may have liked it better.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 07-09-20

Totally absorbing, great narrator

I listened to this in a day. I'd forgotten how absorbing the worlds Ferrante creates are. Plus, Marisa Tomei's narration is exceptionally good.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Faustina
  • 13-09-20

Wow!!

I love everything by Elena Ferrante, and this novel did not disappoint. Marisa Tomei’s performance was gripping. Ms. Tomei gave each character such intense emotion with rawness and realism that it felt like I was eavesdropping on real people. Bravo!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • FloridaK
  • 07-01-21

Awful

Overacted. The narrator emphasizes words in weird ways and over acts even the simplest sentences.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-09-20

Great narration and performance

I thought the performance was great, and I appreciated Tomei's use of the Italian American accents, to denote/convey the class differences between the characters, and their use of dialect versus proper Italian. This is my first Ferrante novel and it was fun to listen to. I don't know if this novel is as profound as The Atlantic's review of it makes it out to be though.

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  • sometomato
  • 12-09-20

Narration lacks nuance

The novel is written in the first person, but the performance doesn't reflect the change the heroin undergoes as she moves through a painful adolescence. Her rage softens and evolves as she acquires self-esteem, wisdom, and compassion—that's the point. But it can be hard to relate to that when the voice you hear goes on sounding like a deeply alienated and self-destructive teenager. It nearly ruined the book for me.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kean Hurley
  • 06-09-20

Meh

After reading the Neapolitan books, I was expecting another masterpiece that would grab my heart right off the bat. But this book wasn’t it. If there will be any sequels to this book, maybe the characters will become dear to me, the way they were in the Neapolitan series. As of right now I couldn’t care less what happens to them. Very underwhelmed.

3 people found this helpful

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  • papapownall
  • 02-09-20

Exceptional and exhilarating storytelling

I have been intrigued by Elena Ferrante (not her real name) for a while but have been put off by the daunting task of tackling her 1,600 four volume Neapolitan Novels for which she is most well known. This latest book has been highly anticipated in the publishing world and tells the story of a pubescent Neapolitan girl Giovanna who is shocked and upset when she is called ugly by her father. Giovanna meets a harsh and mysterious aunt who, unlike her academic parents, speaks in dialect and is illiterate and coarse and becomes a catalyst for Giovanna discovering family secrets and lies. The story of Giovanna's transformation from a child to a grown woman is told beautifully and as the life of a child she knew before disintegrates as she is faced with conflicts over her identity as she is drawn towards her toxic aunt. Giovanna is attracted to boys and desperately wants to experience a sexual relationship but is equally repulsed and thrilled by the thought of it happening.

This is exhilarating stuff and I loved it so much I did not want it to end. I now understand what the fuss is about Elena Ferrante and I cannot wait to discover more of her works. 5 stars.

7 people found this helpful

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  • MissisN
  • 09-09-20

at best, like neopolitan novel #2

Marisa Tomei is an academy nominated actress but yet her voice detracted from this story. it just didn't reasonate. it felt like she was projecting the characters from the neopolitan novels rather than bringing a new character to life. it ruined the story for me. she sounded like Lila at her meanest. I had considered stopping and buying the book, but that would have cost an additional e25 for the hardback. such a pity. I had soooooo looked forward to this story that I bought on preorder

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  • Ann Ingle
  • 10-09-20

wondweful

the narrator brought this book to life in an amazing making a piece of theatrical brilliance.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-21

Rambling tale

Gave up on this. Lost interest in the characters and the bracelet ..... teenage angst seems really dull

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  • dee dee
  • 05-06-21

brilliant

A wonderful book, I’ve read lots of Eleanor Ferranti‘s books but decided it’s time to have an audio! the narrator was absolutely superb, I couldn’t get enough of it ! I will now look out for audio books read by Marissa Tomei!!

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  • mike
  • 01-06-21

A joy to listen to

A beautifully written book narrated to perfection. Definitely a book I will listen to again.

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  • Mark
  • 12-05-21

Marisa Tomei's narration spoils this story!

Such a blow to an amazing author & a shame that this book has been reduced to that of Marisa Tomei's reading of this book. It detracted from the story and I really struggled to get into this book. I am a HUGE Elena Ferrante fan and regret buying the audible version only because of the awful narration.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-21

Powerful charactersation

Marisa Tomei delivers the story and characters exceptionally, voices and words made memorable - listening was powerful.

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  • S. Gazi
  • 28-02-21

Waste of time, awful ending

I had better expectations of this book. It had deep characters and explorations but the storyline was so unnecessary and dramatic, with an awful ending. It addresses the destructive forces of people's nature well. How suffering can turn someone caustic and how quickly people can turn a situation into their own tragedy like a dj spinning a disc. The ending with was foreshadowed early. Good character progression, so a well written book. Just bad plot.

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  • SALLY HOUGH
  • 28-02-21

Problematic narration

I found Marisa Tomei's narration hard going, jarring even. I understand the character is clearly not likeable and very troubled but the aggressive narration really didn't suit the story. The narration also appeared very stilted at times with pauses in the reading that were out of place with the dialogue. I started listening and had to stop for a long time before going back to it. I wish I had just read the novel instead.

Ferrante's story is another enjoyable portrait of Neapolitain life, and having lived there myself, I can see the stories are very well drawn and emulate aspects of Neapolitain life very well indeed. Just not the right choice of narrator for me. As with Hilary Huber.... Please choose better narrators for Ferrante's novels. They deserve better.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-09-20

Why?

I don’t know the purpose of this book. Are we to think that everybody has as many negative traits as these characters, or perhaps it’s good that we don’t? The author still writes so well and that’s what made me finish it. Not easy when there are no likeable characters or storylines to follow. Is Elena having a laugh at us all?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-04-21

Fabulous

Couldn’t stop listening. The storyline is so personal and emotionally intelligent. I would recommend to anyone! So gritty.

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  • Mrs. Elena Kruglyakova
  • 29-01-21

Another brilliant book from Elena Ferrante.

A powerful story of a girl dealing with her adolescence and trying to understand the world of adults.