More on The Lying Life of Adults

‘Two years before leaving home my father said to my mother that I was very ugly. The sentence was uttered under his breath, in the apartment that my parents, newly married, had bought in Rione Alto, at the top of Via San Giacomo dei Capri. Everything – the spaces of Naples, the blue light of a very cold February, those words – remained fixed. But I slipped away, and am still slipping away, within these lines that are intended to give me a story, while in fact I am nothing, nothing of my own, nothing that has really begun or really been brought to completion: only a tangled knot, and nobody, not even the one who at this moment is writing, knows if it contains the right thread for a story or is merely a snarled confusion of suffering, without redemption.’

From Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults

Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself?

She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

To discover more about this book here’s a review from The Guardian.

Netflix have announced it will be on the small screen.

And enjoy the chat on Radio National.

Lying Life of Adults

Described as a powerful new novel set in a divided Naples by Elena Ferrante, the beloved best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend, Pageturners had plenty to talk about with The Lying Life of Adults.

The Lunchtime Pageturners Group had mixed feeling about the book. Comments inlcuded: “Don’t know why it is getting rave reviews, what is there to like?Author very clever – the girl was anxious, annoying – I kept saying stop it, it was unexpected but I persevered, had an impact on me mentally and emotionally, out of my comfort zone, Ferrante very clever to put us in the mind of a girl, her mood was up and down, huge drama, everything was a drama, very skillful, the language was a theme about the different dialects, the picture she painted of Naples, tension between classes, really enjoyed it, the bracelet was a bad luck charm – bad for whoever had it – it symbolised the Lying Life of Adults – you were a prisoner if you owned it, you didn’t really know the truth of the bracelet, the voice best captures teenage girls, she was obsessed with her parents,

don’t like the book, the girls actions were selfish, obsessive, self-serving. it was an uncomfortable book, everything unraveled, she put Roberto on a pedestal, it was a pageturner, didn’t like the style of writing – too disjointed, long sentences, she was overthinking everything in her head, unrealistic storyline, here is truth in the title.”

The average rating was 3 out of five.

November Lunchtime Read

The next book for discussion will be the newly released book by internationally bestselling Australian author Trent Dalton titled All Our Shimmering Skies on Wednesday 11 November 12.30pm – 1.30pm. Book your place here or call Jasmine at Orange City Library on 6393 8125.

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So the Evening Pageturners Discussion Group also had mixed feelings on The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante. They praised the writing but said they felt little connection with the dislikable characters.

Comments included: “How? Why? is this book a bestseller and so popular? I did not enjoy it, I didn’t hate it, I was conscious it was a translation, it made me feel uncomfortable, adults do lie and she could lie with the best of them, it just went on and on,  you never find out if Vittoria is really ugly or is it her character that’s ugly, there were some good parts, it has glowing reviews, everyone was ugly and self-indulgent and self-absorbed, not likeable at all, detested this book, the language didn’t match a young teenage girl,  captured the insecurities of a teenager,  there are other ways to write about these themes of teenage angst that are not so tedious, the bracelet was a symbol of things being impermanent, you could read into it a lot of things, it was so detailed, well I loved it, it was so passionate, every character was so complicated, there was layer upon layer of complications in all the relationships, I really was caught up in the story and her  feelings about everything that happened to her and that she instigated,  that ugly comment was shattering to her, Roberto was perfect, it was more of a ladies book, I didn’t like one single character, it was toxic and negative.”

And the ratings were a fairly low average of 2 out of five.

November Evening Read

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 11 November at 5.30pm – 7pm to discuss James Baldwin’s American classic novel Go Tell It on the Mountain. It is Baldwin’s first major work, published in 1953 and recently re-published. Book your place for the meeting here or call Jasmine at Orange City Library on 6393 8125.

Dictonary of Lost Words Discussion

Pageturners enjoyed a wonderful chat about the Pip Williams debut novel The Dictionary of Lost Words on Wednesday evening.

There was high praise for this book and its characters. The story centres around Esme who spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Over time Esme creates her own dictionary of words meaningful to women. It becomes an emotional story with other historical figures and interweaves the themes of women’s equality, the suffrage movement, class, motherhood and more.

Pageturner comments included “an intelligent and rewarding book, really liked it, thought how she recorded women’s meanings of words absolutely wonderful, enjoyed second half more than the first, it took a while to get into,  it made me cry, lyrical and thought–provoking, beautiful insight,  reminder of how life was once quite slow, loved the character Lizzie, all the characters are believable, I liked that it jumped ahead, loved the language in Ditte’s letters, the wordslip definitions were one of my favourite aspects, distressed about the ending, if you are into words – it is a great book to read.”

Ratings out of 5 were given: 4.5, 4, 4, 4, 4.5.4.5.

Link to Better Reading Podcast with author Pip Williams:

Pip Williams Video Chat showing her treasure trove of items related to the book.

Next Read – October

The October read for Pageturners is Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. It will be the book for discussion on Wednesday October 14 at the new daytime session 12.30pm – 1.30pm or evening session 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place via Eventbrite for either of these sessions.

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. The Lying Life of Adults is her first standalone (and first work of published fiction) since her mega-hit Neapolitan Quartet. See you in October.

Next Read: The Lying Life of Adults

The October read for Pageturners is Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults. It will be the book for discussion on Wednesday 14 October at the new daytime session 12.30pm – 1.30pm new or evening session 5.30pm – 7pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place via Eventbrite for either of these sessions or phone Jasmine on 6393 8125.

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. 

The Lying Life of Adults is her first standalone (and first work of published fiction) since her mega-hit Neapolitan Quartet.

‘Two years before leaving home my father said to my mother that I was very ugly. The sentence was uttered under his breath, in the apartment that my parents, newly married, had bought in Rione Alto, at the top of Via San Giacomo dei Capri. Everything – the spaces of Naples, the blue light of a very cold February, those words – remained fixed. But I slipped away, and am still slipping away, within these lines that are intended to give me a story, while in fact I am nothing, nothing of my own, nothing that has really begun or really been brought to completion: only a tangled knot, and nobody, not even the one who at this moment is writing, knows if it contains the right thread for a story or is merely a snarled confusion of suffering, without redemption.’

Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself?

She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.

More about the author:

Elena Ferrante is the author of The Days of Abandonment (Europa, 2005), Troubling Love (Europa, 2006), The Lost Daughter (Europa, 2008) and the four volumes of the Neapolitan Quartet (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child), published by Europa Editions between 2012 and 2015. She is also the author of a children’s picture book illustrated by Mara Cerri, The Beach at Night, and a work of non-fiction, Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey. Incidental Inventions, her collected Guardian columns, was published in 2019.

Monica McInerney Online Chat

Join bestselling author Monica McInerney talking about her latest book The Godmothers via a Zoom Webinar on Wednesday 30 September 6.30pm at your place.

Monica McInerney is the Australian-born Dublin-based author of the best-selling novels The Trip of a Lifetime, Hello from the Gillespies, The House of Memories, Lola’s Secret, At Home with the Templetons, Those Faraday Girls, Family Baggage, The Alphabet Sisters, Spin the Bottle, Upside Down Inside Out and A Taste for It; the novella Odd One Out and a short story collection All Together Now.

As part of this free live, online author talk, Monica will discuss with you her latest book The Godmothers. This Zoom Webinar is a collaboration between NSW Public Libraries including Central West Libraries. The conversation will be facilitated by Monique Akauola from Sutherland Libraries. We have 50 tickets for this event. Bookings are required via Eventbrite and we send you your link to join the Webinar.

The webinar is a view-only platform. You won’t be seen by the speaker or the other participants, so you can relax in your most comfortable clothes and enjoy your favourite beverage while you watch.

The highly anticipated The Godmothers is a new family drama from one of Australia’s most beloved authors. Book your place via eventbrite.

Dictionary of Lost Words Next Read

Pageturners Book Discussion Group talks about thought-provoking reads and September’s Wednesday 9th meeting will be no exception with a lively chat guaranteed about The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

In 1901, the word ‘Bondmaid’ was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Set when the women’s suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It’s a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.

Due to COVID-19 Public Health Restrictions Pageturners is limited to 10 guests. Currently the September meeting is booked out. However, we have enabled a waiting list, so if a vacancy arises the next person on the waiting list will be informed. Also, if there is an overwhelming number of book clubbers interested in the discussion we will look at hosting a daytime meeting.

If you have any concerns registering via Eventbrite please call Jasmine on 6393 8125.

Miles Franklin Discussion

Pageturners met for the first time since March on Wednesday evening. It was fantastic to catch up with everyone again. The group followed current NSW Health COVID-19 Guidelines with social distancing, hygiene and contact details.

They talked about the shortlisted books for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the winner The Yield by Tara June Winch.

Here are some of the comments:

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany – mixed feelings, impressed me, life in her own dysfunctional family, 1960s small town, exploded view is a symbol for her life, didn’t like it but was fascinated by it, about domestic violence and child abuse, very impressed, well crafted, critic said “superbly controlled”.

The White Girl by Tony Birch – can see why it made the list, lots of undercurrents, police officer tries to enforce the Aboriginal Act, loved the grandmother.

Islands by Peggy Frew – well written, overly poetic ending, about a missing girl and family.

The Returns by Phil Salom – loved it.

The Yield by Tara June Winch – three stories in one, Pop Albert’s story told through the dictionary most interesting, loved August’s sections, complex structure, enjoyed the Wiradjuri words, some parts confusing and slow, pushes the Aboriginal issues too far, interesting and unusual, Tara June Winch said ‘If you want a different story, change history,’ really loved it, everyone should read this book.

Ratings:

4 stars for Exploded View

5 stars for The Returns

4.5 stars The Yield

3.5 stars for The White Girl

5 stars The Yield

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th September 5.30pm – 7pm (second Wednesday of the month) to talk about The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

Book your place online via Eventbrite or call Jasmine on 6393 8132.