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The Lying Life of Adults

Narrated by: Marisa Tomei
Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

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wondweful

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

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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A story of intense experience ill served by its narration

This coming of age story has many interesting and thought provoking aspects. The girl who tells her story is subject to many waves of emotion from melancholy to longing to anger. But the narration is delivered in an inappropriately strong New Jersey accent and almost every character’s lines are given an angry tone, making this an exhausting and dispiriting listen. I wish now I had read the book rather than listen to it on Audible - I would have got a lot more out of it.

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Highs and Lows

Hard going in a lot of places but did have some interesting part - book club book.

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Disappointed

Not nearly as good as the Neapolitan Quartet, and ruined by Marisa Tomei’s narration. Disappointing.

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ended abruptly

I loved the beginning of this book and exploring the family dynamics. personally, i felt it ended really abruptly. having listened to it rather than reading it, I lost track of how far I had got. and it just suddenly finished. I thought I had accidentally skipped a. chapter. anyway, i wasn't blown away but I did enjoy the book.

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Ferrante's words poorly read.

The story was as I was expecting, moving, blunt and a wonderful recreation of a girl learning that the world of adults is more complex than she had imagined. Sadly this was ruined somewhat by Marisa Tomei's narration. She reads this audiobooks like someone seeing the text for the very first time; placing her emphasis is weird points of sentences, rushing at times and generally not impressing. Her choice of voices for the characters was also quite bizarre, in her mouth they screech at odd moments, shout when there is no indication in the text that this is appropriate and are all given a weird slurring New Jersey accent. Often they sound more like Tony Soprano having a stroke, or and argument whilst VERY drunk than like young italians negotiating personal relationships. please don't employ her for any more Ferrante.

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  • Keighlee K.
  • 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.

13 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.

7 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.

5 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.

4 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.

3 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!!

2 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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • sistasheba
  • 30-09-20

Unexpected downer

Have read most of Ferrante’s novellas, stories and all novels. There was always something to connect me with her characters, both male and female. I found nothing to relate to here. It was quite dreary, actually, with no one to root for except Julianna.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jabberwalk
  • 29-09-20

Very negative coming of age story

After reading the 4 Neapolitan novels which I loved, this was a great disappointment. It seemed so “whiney” and negative. Still -it had some beautiful passages... I enjoyed the reader.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • 27-09-20

Depressing

The title should have tipped me off - this is a depressing story about cheating adults with unhealthy sibling relationships their negatively impact their children. It ended abruptly and with any closure- would not recommend

1 person found this helpful