(translated by Ann Goldstein)
Here we go again with Ferrante: working class Naples; the possibilities of education – how it can open up new futures; super-tight teenage girl friendships; puberty, attraction, possibilities, and the possibilities of danger / betrayal; teeming, chaotic family life – in this case spectacularly up-ended by the titular Lying Life of Adults.
She is good at this. She writes like a dream. You turn pages and get lost in it all. It is tempting to think of it as niche, but I don’t think that really matters, what does matter is that it is carried out with terrific aplomb and believability – relate-ability.
Briefly: Giovanna is growing, her dad makes an off-hand comment about how she looks like an aunt (his sister), a woman Giovanna has never met. She seeks her out and it quickly becomes obvious that this aunt and Giovanna’s father, had ‘issues’ years ago, the scars of which have never healed. But this aunt, her rough way of living and speaking – so at odds with her parents nicely middle-class life and behaviour – are attractive to Giovanna, and her life and that of her parents and their circle, set off on a different course. The aunt, Vittoria, is a terrific character.
A typically urgent sentence, from a fleeting visit to Milan:
“We walked from a church to a courtyard to a square to a museum, without stopping, as if it were our last occasion to see the city before its destruction.”
Flew through it. Loved it.