Elena Ferrante, Lažljivi život odraslih / The Lying Life of Adults

Scroll down for English

Ferrante počinje uobičajeno žestoko, udarcem šake u glavu, direktno, beskompromisno uvodi nas u vrtlog svog pripovijedanja. Tijekom romana stalno se isprepliću i smjenjuju razni trenutni pokretači radnje: ljepota, obiteljska sličnost, laži, tajne, misteriozna teta Vittoria, narukvica, idealni Roberto. Cijeli roman vrtlog je zbivanja i nadasve vrtlog emocija koji povremeno prerasta u uragan. Cijeli je roman klupko koje nema ni početak ni kraj, ima niti koje se stalno izvlače, mrse, vraćaju natrag, ponovo izvlače iste, druge, ponovo mrse sve do neprepoznatljivosti onih prvotnih niti.

Roman je pun krivnje, zabrinutosti, stalne uznemirenosti: Giovanna stalno preispituje samu sebe, pokušava doći do odgovora, do odgonetki svog života i života kao takvog, bez uspjeha. Na početku romana naša pripovjedačica Giovanna nalazi se na rubu puberteta i vrlo silovito, očevom izjavom da je ružna, ulazi u svijet odraslih, u svijet laži, varki, privida, u svijet gdje ništa nije kao što se čini: fino, uglađeno, kulturno, intelektualno, obrazovano, odmjereno, gospodsko. S vremenom otkriva da sve ono što su roditelji isticali kao bitno, da sve ono kakvima su se prikazivali, kako su živjeli nije istinito: to je samo fasada, laž koja prikriva ono stvarno. A ono stvarno uvijek je nasilno, beskompromisno, okrutno, nisko, primitivno, dijalektalno, siromašno, jadno, emocionalno, sirotinjsko, vulgarno i žalosno.

Za razliku od ostalih romana Elene Ferrante u kojima je naglasak na odnosu s majkom, na (uzajamnoj) mržnji između majke i kćeri, ovaj roman počinje dječjom ljubavlju i obožavanjem oca koji postupno prerasta u prezir i osudu oba roditelja, ali ovoga puta osjećaji prema ocu prevladavaju.

Što simbolizira skrivena i zatomljena sestra Vittoria u njihovoj obitelji? Skrivenu sramotu, prešaranu prošlost na fotografiji, sve ono što Giovannini roditelji nisu htjeli biti, postati, priznati da stvarno jesu. Ta zla, ružna, impulzivna, glasna, pretjerana, priprosta, dijalektalna sestra simbol je onoga prošloga, onoga što je prevladano napretkom u novo, uljuđeno, obrazovano, intelektualno. Ogovaranje pred crkvom zamijenilo je čitanje knjiga; svađanje po ulicama kulturne večere pune intelektualnih tema i rasprava; strastvenu ljubav, vanbračne odnose, nevjeru zamijenio je lažno hladan i lažno vjeran brak.

Likovi, prvenstveno dvije intelektualne obitelji prijatelja, žive u iluziji da su slobodni. Da su se oslobodili svog podrijetla, vjere, otac misli da se uzdigao iznad svoje obitelji i svojih predaka jer je profesor, a zapravo svojim ponašanjem potvrđuje istinu – svi smo mi potpuno isti, životinjski i jadni.

Ljudi konstantno pokušavaju održati privid o svojoj pristojnosti, uzvišenosti, ispravnosti. Vittoria je ona sramotna osoba koju su pokušavali sakriti i zanijekati jer ih sramoti time što ih otkriva kakvi su oni sami zapravo, kakvi smo svi ispod fasade (ili tu fasadu nemamo kao što je nema Vittoria): zlobni, zli, pakosni, beskompromisni. Jer sve ostalo, sve osim onog osnovnog kakvi stvarno jesmo, samo je kompromis, uljuđivanje, laž.

Teta Vittoria ono je drugo od Giovanninih roditelja, ona živi od osjećaja, od sjećanja na sreću, plače bez zadrške, živi bez zadrške, osjeća svoju tjelesnost bez zadrške, neuglađena je, nerafinirana, cigareta joj visi iz usta, a psuje na dijalektu. Ona je prva koja se prema Giovanni obraća kao prema odrasloj osobi, ravnopravno.

Laži i tajne postoje uvijek i svuda, čak su na njima izgrađeni cijeli životi, samo postoje takvi ljudi koji ih održavaju, šire, stvaraju i ne žele ih primijetiti (roditelji) i onakvi ljudi koji ih otkrivaju makar pritom sve uništili sve oko sebe, sa svima se posvađali, upropastili mnoge živote, a i svoj vlastiti (Vittoria).

Giovanna se stalno nalazi između ljubavi i mržnje prema ljudima oko sebe, između odobravanja i pokude, stalno se osjeća loše zbog svojih postupaka, osjeća se da je ružna, da se kvari. Kada shvaća da je nametnut moral zapravo jedino i samo lažan moral, gubi se, ne zna što joj je činiti, što bi bila prava opozicija roditeljima. Što je opozicija lošeg koje je zapakirano u dobro? Ekstremno loše, ekstremno dobro ili ništa od navedenog. Je li pravi put, put Vittorije? Raskalašenost, razuzdanost, da postane loša, kurva. Ili vjera (kao suprotnost roditeljima ateistima), Biblija, vječno ispravan Roberto.

Njezino je jedino stalno stanje nezadovoljstvo, uzrujanost, netrpeljivost, opsesija. Opsesija ljepotom, promatranjem sebe u ogledalu, opsesija tetom, nevjerom, Robertom. Osjećaj stalne duboke uznemirenosti.

Od početka romana pratimo buđenje njene seksualnosti, prvo dječju seksualnost koja napreduje u odraslu. Njezin tadašnji trenutak, okruženje, nevjera oca, prikrivanje obiteljskih laži osnova su na kojoj ona razvija svoju seksualnost, odnos prema muškarcima (prljave, gadne svinje ili anđeoski idoli) i sebe kao ženu (kao razvratnu kurvu ili sveticu pokajnicu). Cijeli roman, iako obuhvaća vremenski period od nekoliko godina, čini prijelomni trenutak u životu djeteta. Prijelomni trenutak u odrastanju kada dolazi na vidjelo u kojem će smjeru odraslo doba krenuti. Nakon svih događaja, očeve usporedbe nje s tetom, upoznavanja s tetom, otkrića neiskrenosti među roditeljima, otkrića nevjere, rastave braka, života oca s drugom obitelji, ona shvaća da više nije nevina, da joj je djetinjstvo završeno, ona otkriva da se iza nekih misli skrivaju druge misli. Shvaća da je odrastanje nemoguće zaustaviti.

Seksualnost ima jedno od centralnih mjesta u romanu: ona se nalazi iza svega, iza laži odraslih, iza neobjašnjivih poteza pojedinaca. Giovanni sve oko nje govori da seks mora biti nešto što nužno oduševljava, ali ona to kroz roman pokušava dokučiti, ali ne uspijeva. Seksualnost je istovremeno postavljena kao vrlo važna, ali i kao zabranjena i potisnuta.

Najviše se nalazi u nedoumici što se skriva u glavama i tijelima ljudi punih znanja. Kako postoji nedostatak inteligencije kod ljudi koji je imaju napretek?

Likovi su snažni, izraziti, životni, kao i uvijek kod Elene Ferrante, najistaknutiji i najupečatljiviji su ženski likovi. Rastrzana i izgubljena Giovanna, razapeta između mnogih ljudi i poriva. Jaka i beskompromisna Vittoria odgovorna samo sebi i svojoj umrloj ljubavi, okrutna prema svima, uvjerenja da što više nekoga stišćeš to više i dobivaš, iako jasno je da stvari baš ne idu tako. Koliko god bila jaka žena, koja se ne obazire na mišljenje okoline, shvaća da će je jednog dana njeni potezi i njena pretjeranost dovesti do potpune samoće. Iako uvijek iskrena i direktna ujedno je i manipulatorica ljudima, čini sve što je potrebno da dobije ono što želi.

Majka kao blijeda pojava koja se ne može istrgnuti iz starog života koji je vrlo očigledno prošao, puna ljubavi, obožavanja i divljenja prema mužu. Nakon što je ostavljena stvorila je kult bivšeg muža i svu ljutnju i tugu kanalizirala je u nastavak izgradnje priče o njegovoj fantastičnoj ličnosti. Bez obzira na to da i ona ima novu ljubav, ili možda bolje reći novi ljubavni odnos, ona i dalje hvali bivšega muža, njegov intelekt, njegov rad, njegovu dobrotu.

Otac je Giovanni nedokučiv lik, u djetinjstvu obožavan i idealiziran, a kasnije, sasvim opravdano, omražen. Intelektualac, obrazovan, fin čovjek s lijepim manirama, pristojnim pristupom kojim prilazi svakome, iza svega toga je, ne samo nepromijenjen primitivac, nego i slabić, čovjek bez pravog vlastitog mišljenja i čovjek bez ikakve moralne snage. On pola života provodi zaljubljen u drugu ženu što je ne samo nepošteno nego i jednostavno – jadno. On svakim svojim potezom pokazuje svoju ništavnost i nebitnost. On (i njegova sadašnja žena) smatra da nitko nije kriv za to što se dogodilo, da se bol ne nanosi namjerno i to je ono što ga najbolje opisuje. Njemu se stvari događaju, on ne upravlja njima, on je bijedan slabić koji se prepušta struji, ženama, događajima.

Roberto, mlad intelektualac, čovjek koji se čudom tako rano i tako bezbolno uspio izvući iz jada i bijede. Ili možda bolje rečeno iz ralja mafije. Koliko god svojim umom i utjecajem oduševljava, koliko se uzdigao, otišao u Milano, on je i dalje duboko ukorijenjen u Napulju. Duboko ukorijenjen u jadu i neimaštini. Doznajemo za njegov „dug“ Napulju, koji se manifestira u odnosu s Giulianom. Mislim da je moguće doći do zaključka da je to zapravo dug mafiji, dug lojalnosti, neprekinutost s vlastitim porijeklom. On je stalno vedar i miran, zapravo vrlo podsjeća na oca, što čak Giovanni i u nekom trenutku pada na pamet, mlada verzija njezinog oca.

On je sjajna figura, prorok s oltara, takva blistava inteligencija koja ne samo što obasjava sve oko sebe nego ljude čini da budu primorani pokloniti mu se, prikloniti se njegovom mišljenju i njegovoj osobi. A tko je on zapravo? To nismo doznali vidjevši ga samo iz Giovannine idealizirajuće perspektive. To je jedna naznaka da ovaj roman nije završena cjelina nego da čeka svoj nastavak u kojem ćemo doznati više o ovom liku. Iako, on zapravo nije bitan sam po sebi, bitno je to kako on utječe na ljude, posebno na žene koje samo zato da bi ga vidjele putuju preko pola Italije i doslovno čupaju kosu od očaja, stavljaju sve na kocku da bi bile s njim. Naravno, tu dolazimo i do žalosnog lika Giuliane. Giuliana je žena-lutka, lijepa, požrtvovna, šutljiva, koja postoji samo kao figura, koja postoji samo u odnosu na nekoga drugoga. Ona ovdje postoji samo i jedino u odnosu na Roberta, sama za sebe ona je – nitko. Ona je samo zbog njega očajna, histerična, mahnita, u transu od ljubomore. Ona ima samo karakteristike „prema“ nekome, a ne „u“ sebi. Lik kojim se manipulira i koji samo drugima služi za njihove svrhe: Robertu, Vittoriji i Giovanni. Giovanni koja preko nje i preko neiskrenog prijateljstva s njom prilazi Robertu, preko usporedbe s njom postaje Robertu pametnija, učenija, zanimljivija.

I kakav je to uopće čudan odnos između mlađe srednjoškolke i odraslog muškarca koji radi na fakultetu? I to još povezanost preko njegove buduće žene. Vrlo neuobičajen ljubavni trokut. Giovanna je u njemu, pogotovo na putovanju u Milano s Guilanom, figura u pozadini, nevažna pratilja, a istovremeno i istaknuta pametnija osoba pred Robertom i pred njegovim društvom. Bez ikakve sumnje u tom trokutu postoje jasne naznake međusobne privlačnosti i zatomljene seksualnosti, samo je nejasno točno od koga je sve prema kome ona usmjerena.

Narukvica se suptilno provlači od početka pa sve do kraja romana. Ona je simbol moći, žezlo koje se predaje iz ruke u ruku da bi svaka nova ruka u trenutku nošenja narukvice osjetila moć. Moć koja joj je dana, ali koju realno – nema. Narukvica je prikaz lažnosti, prikaz svega što ne valja u životima odraslih. Ona je lijepa, skupocjena, svjetluca, sjaji se, zavodi, ali nema nikakve prave vlasti. Ona je samo iluzija postojanja ženske moći, ženske kontrole, ženske ljubavi i ženske ljepote. Nedohvatljiva, netrajna i stalno izmičuća. Ona je sredstvo, način i pokazatelj kako muškarci vladaju ženama stvarajući privid da su one na vlasti.

I kako protumačiti nagli kraj? Taj nerazjašnjen završetak? Svatko ima želju napraviti nešto posebno u svom životu, nešto potpuno drugačije od svih ostalih. Tako je i Giovanna, u nadi da će pridobiti Roberta, mislila da će iskusiti neku iznimnu ljubav sa specijalnim čovjekom, s muškarcem koji nije svinja kao ostali muškarci (iako, ne bi li postao ista takva svinja kada bi zaručnicu varao s njom?). Htjela se izdići iznad svojih roditelja isto kao što su se i njeni roditelji pokušavali izdići iznad svojih roditelja. Ali kako se odrediti prema bilo kojoj karakteristici roditelja jer oni su bili istovremeno dobri i loši? I to je baš ono što odrastanje jest, stalno vrludanje, vijuganje, određivanje sebe sad prema jednome, sad prema drugome, stalno mijenjanje pozicija.

I onda, kada velika ljubav i zavođenje nije uspjelo, ona se odlučuje slijediti Idin primjer, „obaviti“ prvo seksualno iskustvo s nevažnim muškarcem, riješiti se neugode i krenuti dalje. Krenuti u daljnje odrastanje. Ona zna da joj je ponešto tijekom zadnjih godina postalo jasnije, ali da još uvijek nije u potpunosti ušla u lažljivi život odraslih. A to zna tako što ih još uvijek niti razumnije niti odobrava u potpunosti. Putovanjem vlakom ona odlazi u nešto novo, neku novu fazu, buduće odrastanje, novu etapu u životu, a mi se nadamo da time odlazi i u idući nastavak ovog spektakularnog romana. Ovaj je izniman roman, rekla bih – roman godine, roman u kojem je moguće da je Ferrante nadmašila svoju dosadašnju – sebe samu.

Potpuno je jasno da Ferrante Lažljivim životom odraslih nije rekla sve što je imala o ovim likovima i nadajmo se da nas čeka skori nastavak i još više stotina stranica o Giovanninom životu.

Kao i uvijek, Ferrante nas uvlači u jedan svijet koji jest naš svijet, ali mi nismo svjesni toga da to jest naš svijet, nismo svjesni koliko se toga tajnog, skrivenog, zakopanog, neizrečenog krije ispod površine svakodnevnog života među običnim ljudima.

Ferrante nam na oštar, snažan i prilično beznadan način pokazuje kako smo svi mi samo splet osjećaja, strasti, tijela, slučaja i požude, da se od toga pobjeći ne može jer je nemoguće pobjeći od ljudskog. Svi se nalazimo u istoj kaljuži ljudskosti iz koje ne možemo izaći. Bolje rečeno, biti čovjek znači biti u kaljuži, biti čovjek ne znači ništa lijepo, dobro, produhovljeno i pametno, biti čovjek znači ono nisko, teško, zamorno, patničko. Ali ipak, roman završava s pomirenjem (otac je osuđivao Vittoriju, Giovanna roditelje, roditelji djecu) jer ne možemo osuđivati jedni druge baš iz tog razloga zato što smo svi – isti.


As always, Ferrante starts her narration fiercely, so strongly that we immediately feel punched in the face. She leads us in the vortex of her storytelling, directly, honestly and without mercy. During the novel we are, at times, unsure what drives the narrative: beauty, family resemblance, lies, secrets, the mysterious aunt Vittoria, the bracelet, the perfect Roberto.

The novel is a vortex of events and a vortex of emotion that occasionally turns into a hurricane. The whole novel is a tangled knot without a beginning and an end, the threads just keep emerging, knotting, re-emerging again and again until the original threads become completely unrecognisable and cannot be disentangled any more.  

You can clearly sense unsettlement, distress and guilt throughout the novel. Giovanna is constantly questioning herself, trying to get some answers, trying to understand her life and life itself. With no effect. In the beginning of the novel Giovanna, our narrator, is in the verge of puberty and only by the fact that her father said that she was ugly, Giovanna immediately enters the world of adults. She encounters a world that is filled with lies and deceits, a world in which nothing is as it seems. Nothing is nice, cultured, good mannered, educated, intellectual. Eventually, she will come to discover that whatever her parents thought of and held important, whatever they seemed to be, was a lie, only a front, a lie that covers the truth. And what is the truth? Violence, ruthlessness, cruelness, the primitive, always spoken in Neapolitan dialect, poverty, the emotional, the vulgar and the miserable.

Compared to other Ferrante’s novels where the main character was always in a difficult relationship with the mother, with strong feelings of hatred between mothers and daughters, here, however, the main relationship is with the father.

What does the hidden sister Vittoria symbolise? What place does she have in their family? She is something that is disgraceful that should remain hidden, she is the ruined photograph, she is everything that Giovanna’s parents aspired not to be. That evil, ugly, impulsive, loud, intense, primitive sister is a symbol of everything that belongs to the past, everything they hoped they outgrew, overcame and that they prospered into becoming new, civilised, educated, intellectuals. Instead of talking to neighbours and relatives before mass they started reading books; instead of fighting and shouting in the streets they started having cultured dinner parties filled with intellectual topics; instead of passionate love, affairs and open infidelity they had a false, cold and pretend-good marriage.

Characters in this novel, mostly the two intellectual families of friends, live thinking they are free, they live thinking they have freed themselves from their heritage, parentage, religion, the father believes that he was now above his family, his ancestors because he managed to become a teacher. But, in reality, he just confirmed the truth with his behaviour – we are all alike, we are all just miserable animals.

They tried to hide Vittoria because she embarrassed them by revealing what they truly were underneath all the fronts they put up: mean, bad, maleficent. Because everything else is a lie, just a compromise, the way we pretend to be more humane.

Lies and secrets are all around us, even whole lives were built upon them, but there are people who perpetuate the lies and deny them (Giovanna’s parents), and there are such people who reveal the truth even though they often fight and argue with everybody, destroy many lives in the process, including their own (Vittoria) but tell the truth nonetheless.

Giovanna is permanently stuck between love and hate, between acceptance and conflict, she feels bad because of everything she does, she feels ugly, she feels she is turning bad. She understands that her parents’ morality is only a false morality, she feels lost. She doesn’t know how to act, how to oppose them. What is the opposition of bad that is only presented as good? Extremely bad, extremely good or none of the above? Is the right way to go Vittoria’s way? Debauchery, becoming bad, becoming a whore. Or maybe religion (the opposite of her atheist parents), the Bible, the always right and proper Roberto.

The only constant in her life is discontentment, agitation, unhappiness, obsession. Obsession with beauty, observing her image in the mirror, obsession with her aunt, with infidelity, with Roberto. She constantly feels a deep uneasiness.

From the very beginning of the novel we follow the development of her sexuality, childhood sexuality that evolves into adult sexuality. What keeps happening to her and around her: her father’s infidelity and constant family lies make the base on which she would develop her sexuality, her relationship to men (are they horrible pigs or angel-like idols) and to herself as a woman (a whore or a saint). Although the story continues for a couple of years, it is the turning point in a life of a child. A turning point in growing up. After everything that had happened: her father comparing her to Vittoria, getting to know her aunt, insincerity between her parents, the revelation of her father’s infidelity, divorce, her father’s life with another family, she comes to the conclusion that she isn’t innocent any more, that her childhood has come to an end. She discovers that other thoughts lurk behind some thoughts, she understands that growing up cannot be haltered any more.

Sexuality holds a lot of significance in this novel, it lurks behind everything, behind the lies of adults, behind the unexplainable things people do. Giovanna gathers that sex is an important thing in life and that it should be something fascinating, but she doesn’t seem to understand why that is. Sexuality is at the same time important and forbidden and ought to be suppressed.

She has difficulty understanding how intelligent people can act that unintelligently, as they too often do.

Ferrante’s characters are (always) strong, lifelike, but the most distinguished and most interesting ones are always female characters. The lost Giovanna, torn between different people and different impulses. The fierce and uncompromising Vittoria who answers only to herself and to her dead love, she is cruel to everybody, she believes that you accomplish more the more you push and torture people, but she does know that it will be hard to keep that up. She knows that some day will come in which she will end up alone because she asks too much of people around her. She is always direct and truthful, but at the same time very manipulating, she always get what she wants.

Giovanna’s mother is a pale figure who is unable to end her previous life, she still loves, adores and admires her ex-husband. She makes a cult out of his image and she used all her hurt and anger to continue telling a story about how amazing he is. Regardless of her being in a new relationship, she is still impressed with her ex-husband’s work, his mind, his goodness.

Giovanna’s father is a complete mystery to her. She adored and idealized him as a child, and later she, understandably, started loathing him. He is an intellectual, well educated, nice man, kind to people around him, but behind it all hides a primitive and a weak man. A man without any opinions and thoughts of his own, a man without any morality. He spent half of his life in love with another woman other than his wife. That is in itself not only unfair, but also pathetic. Everything he does shows what kind of an unimportant, miserable man he is. He (the same as his new, current wife) thinks that nothing that happened was his fault, that things just happen, that nobody inflicts anybody else pain on purpose. And that describes him perfectly, things happen to him, he doesn’t make anything happen. He is a weak, pathetic man.

Roberto is a young intellectual, a man who got out of misery and poverty very early in life. Or maybe he got of the mafia? He managed to escape from Naples to Milan and managed to get a job at the university, but he still cannot escape Naples, he “owes” Naples and that is what connects him to Giuliana. He cannot escape his family, his past. He is always happy and calm, he seems very similar to Giovanna’s father, what occurs to her as well – a young version of her father. He is a bold figure, a prophet, so impressively intelligent, amazes all the people around him. All people around him feel inclined to him, drawn to him, drawn to his thoughts and opinions. What is he like at all? We are unsure because we got to know him only from Giovanna’s idealizing perspective. And that is one hint that tells us that Giovanna’s story won’t end with this novel, we might get a sequel to find out more about Roberto’s character. Anyway, he is unimportant in himself, he is only important in the way he influences people, especially women who are immediately ready to do anything for him, to travel across Italy to see him, to pull out their hair because of him, to risk everything just to be with him. And that, of course, leads us to the sad character of Giuliana. Giuliana is more a doll than a woman, she is beautiful, devoted, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t ask for much, she is just a figure that exists only in relation to someone else. She exists here only in relation to Roberto because she in herself is nobody at all. She is desperate, hysterical, frantic, crazy with jealousy only because of him. Everybody has a chance to manipulate her and use her for their own devices: Roberto, Vittoria, Giovanna. Giovanna uses her insincere friendship to Giuliana to get to Roberto, and compared to Giuliana she is always more interesting, smarter and more educated than Giuliana.

What is this strange relationship between a grown man and a teenage high school girl like? And their unusual connection through his fiancée. A very unique love triangle. Giovanna is a person in the background in this “relationship”, just a friend and a follower to Giuliana, but at the same time she is the smarter person in front of Roberto and his colleagues. Without a doubt there are sexual connections here, but it is still unclear who is interested and towards whom.

The bracelet flows through the novel from the beginning right to the end. The bracelet is a symbol of power, a sceptre that is passed on from one hand to another, one arm to another, and each new person feels powerful having it. The power is only symbolic, not present in reality at all. The bracelet embodies the lies and everything else what is flawed in the life of adults. It is an item of beauty, it is expensive, valuable, it glistens, it seduces, but it has no real power, it is just an illusion the same as the power of women, the illusion of having everything under control, the illusion of the way women are loved, of what beauty of a woman means. Illusive and never permanent. The bracelet is a means to an end, it shows how men dominate women making them think they are the ones in charge.

And what about the abrupt ending of the novel? Everybody has a need to do something special with their lives, something that will make them different than others. And that is exactly what Giovanna did with Roberto, she was hoping she would have an extraordinary love affair with an exquisite man, a man who differs from other men, not a pig but a noble person. Wouldn’t he become a pig having an affair with her, cheating on his fiancée?

She wanted to rise above her parents, the same way her parents wanted to rise above their parents. But how could she decide what to do considering her parents were good and bad at the same time? That is exactly what growing up is, constant meandering between different things, different morals and different decisions. Always changing positions and viewpoints.

When Giovanna’s seduction idea fails, she decides to follow Ida’s example, to get the first sexual experience over with, done with, with an insignificant man. To get the unpleasant thing out of the way. To get it out of the way and to start going on her own way, to continue evolving and growing up on her own terms. She knows she still hasn’t entered the lying world of adults compeletly, she still has trouble understanding it fully. By taking that train ride she enters into something new, a new phase in life, a new beginning. And of course, we hope she will enter a new beginning into a new Elena Ferrante book, a sequel of this amazing novel.

This is for me, without a doubt, the novel of the year. And, as I have not hoped it would happen, in this novel Ferrante outdid herself.

It is quite clear that with The Lying Life of Adults Ferrante is not done with these characters, hopefully, we will be reading hundreds more pages about Giovanna’s life.

As always, Ferrante drew us in her world, in her rough, tough, powerful way, showing us that it is our world as well, we are just not aware of it. We are not aware how many things lie hidden, unsaid, buried beneath the surface of everyday life among ordinary people.

Ferrante showed us that we are all just a mixture of emotion, passion, the physical, chance, lust that cannot be avoided because we can never run away from being human. Being human means being low, means everything but being nice, beautiful, good, profound and smart. Being human means everything primitive, difficult, hard, tiresome, miserable. But after all, the novel ends with a reconciliation. The father couldn’t forgive Vittoria, Giovanna couldn’t forgive her parents, parents never can forgive their children for their mistakes. But, in the end, reconciliation is necessary because we are all the same, equally flawed and equally human.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: