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The Lying Life of Adults
Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein - translator
Spieldauer: 10 Std. und 21 Min.
3.5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, is looking more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Will she turn out like her despised Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father have spent their whole lives avoiding and deriding? There must be a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.
In Other Words is a revelation. It is at heart a love story - of a long and sometimes difficult courtship and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her. Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family for "a trial by fire, a sort of baptism" into a new language and world.
The novel follows the adolescent Arturo through his days on the isolated Neapolitan island of Procida, where - his mother long deceased, his father often absent, and a dog as his sole companion - he roams the countryside and the beaches or reads in his family's lonely, dilapidated mansion. This quiet, meandering existence is upended when his father brings home a beautiful 16-year-old bride, Nunziatella.
In old Bari, everyone knows Maria De Santis as “Malacarne,” the bad seed. Nicknamed for her dark features, volcanic temperament, and resistance to rules, the headstrong girl can only imagine the possibilities that lie outside her poverty-stricken neighborhood. Growing up with her mother, two brothers, and a tyrannical father, Maria must abide. She does - amid the squalid life to which she was born, the cruelties of her small-minded neighbors, and violence in a constant threat of eruption.
Ida is a married woman in her late 30s, who lives in Rome and works at a radio station. Her mother wants to renovate the family apartment in Messina, to put it up for sale and asks her daughter to sort through her things - to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Surrounded by the objects of her past, Ida is forced to deal with the trauma she experienced as a girl, 23 years earlier, when her father left one morning, never to return.