Daily Recco, October 12: The Lying Life of Adults gives true picture of the lies of adulthood

Ferrante's smooth sentences and the plot centred around framing lying as a creative act, and not as a vice, make The Lying Life of Adults an unputdownable and a compelling read.

 |  2-minute read |   12-10-2020
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In an interview in 2002, author Elena Ferrante had said, “To tolerate existence, we lie, and we lie above all to ourselves.” She went on to add, “Sometimes we tell ourselves lovely tales, sometimes petty lies. Falsehoods protect us.”

As an author who has been consistently dealing with the importance of questioning one’s identity, Elena Ferrante’s novel — The Lying Life of Adults — published in November 2019, talks about the 12-year-old protagonist’s transition from childhood to adolescence, and grappling with self-deception and learning to catch the adults around her in the act of lying.


Set in the early 1990s in Naples, Italy, the story is that of 12-year-old Giovanna Trada, who has to deal with her face changing to resemble someone who her parents despise. The adult Giovanna reminisces her past when she overhears her father telling her mother that Giovanna’s face is becoming ugly like her aunt’s. Thus begins Giovanna’s lying life. For you see, this sentence itself was the first lie! A few pages into the story, Giovanna says that her father didn't say she was “ugly”. He merely stated to Giovanna’s mother that Giovanna was starting to look like his mysterious and estranged sister — Vittoria. In Giovanna’s imagination, Vittoria is a “lean, demonic silhouette, an unkempt figure lurking in the corners of houses when darkness falls" — having never met her aunt before. Giovanna decides to go to the other side of Naples to see Vittoria for herself and uncover her own fate.

Ferrante's smooth sentences, that are interlaced with awkwardness at times, that eventually leads to something meaningful and framing lying, not as a vice, but as a creative act — all these aspects make The Lying Life of Adults an unputdownable and a compelling read.

Read for yourself to know that we are not lying here!

Also read: Daily Recco, October 6: Read A Southern Music for fresh perspective on the Carnatic art form


Rajeshwari Ganesan Rajeshwari Ganesan @rajeshwaridotg

Assistant Editor, DailyO

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