For My Ears: The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante – narrated by Marisa Tomei

Soon to be a Netflix original series.

A powerful new novel set in a divided Naples by Elena Ferrante, the New York Times best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.

“There’s no doubt [the publication of The Lying Life of Adults] will be the literary event of the year.” (Elle

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is. 

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: a Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and a Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between both in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape. 

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. With this novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. 

In The Lying Life of Adults, listeners will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

A Most Anticipated Book of 2020

  • The New York Times Book Review
  • Vogue
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • Elle Magazine
  • BuzzFeed
  • The Millions
  • The Seattle Times
  • USA Today
  • Town & Country
  • Thrillist 
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Library Journal
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • BookPage
  • Literary Hub
  • BBC Culture

I recently had the opportunity to listen to the amazing Elena Ferrante’s latest novel. Similar to her Neopolitan novels, but unique and a stand-alone, The Lying Life of Adults follows the coming of age events of Giovanna and the forces that shape her. Aptly read by Marisa Tomei, I enjoyed this story and look forward to what I assume will be a sequel!

I got mine with an Audible credit via Amazon!

A few for my ears….

As you know, I spend a lot of time commuting.

Recently, I’ve enjoyed some really good audiobooks through my Audible account.

ORDINARY GRACE by William Kent Krueger was a mixed mystery/coming of age story that was really well-written. Here’s the description from Amazon:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
WINNER OF THE 2014 DILYS AWARD
A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013

“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

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I really enjoyed this book — it kept me listening right up unto the end. I particularly loved the main character and his reminiscences of this fateful summer of his youth. It is read by Rich Orlow – who did a fantastic job – and runs 11 hours.

 

Another fantastic book was Z by Therese Anne Fowler. This is historical fiction about Zelda Fitzgerald. Here’s the Amazon overview:

“Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume – same as I would wear that evening….”

Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, 17-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match. But when Scott finally sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Zelda defies her parents to board a train to New York and marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Life is a sudden whirl of glamour and excitement: Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel – and his beautiful, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, trades in her provincial finery for daring dresses, and plunges into the endless party that welcomes the darlings of the literary world to New York, then Paris and the French Riviera. It is the Jazz Age, when everything seems new and possible – except that dazzling success does not always last.

Surrounded by a thrilling array of magnificent hosts and mercurial geniuses – including Sara and Gerald Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the great and terrible Ernest Hemingway – Zelda and Scott find the future both grander and stranger than they could have ever imagined.

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I LOVED this book so much! Zelda’s story is so tragic yet you can’t look away.

The narrator, Jenna Lamia, was AMAZING and I can still hear her voice in my head (in a good way!). It runs approximately 12 1/2 hours.

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I also listened to the novel: THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, by Daniel James Brown, about the Washington college crew team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Here’s the Amazon overview:

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together – a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boatis an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

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What a great story! I love a feel-good athletic underdog story!!

This 14 1/2 hour book was read by Edward Herrmann. He did a fine job, but his voice reminded me of the voiceover from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom when I was a kid. To be honest, I would have loved a bit more pep.

 

Currently I am listening to THE LINCOLN LETTER by William Martin. I love his books! In this one Peter Fallon is looking for a lost diary of President Lincoln.

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What have YOU been listening to lately?

Review: DOLLBABY by Laura Lane McNeal

I’d hear some chatter about DOLLBABY while I was at BEA, but I wasn’t able to get my hands on a copy. Finally,  a copy came into the library system where I live and I snatched it up!

DOLLBABY is a wonderful coming of age story, set in the South in the 1960’s. Liberty “Ibby” Bell is just twelve years old when her father dies in an accident and her mother drops her off to visit her grandmother, never to return for her. Ibby is a smart and plucky young girl. She loved her father and misses him terribly. She even misses her rather useless and self-centered mother. However, Fannie, her grandmother is quite a character and her unpredictable behavior and closet full of secrets keeps the plot moving. The household is actually run by two long-term servants: Queenie and her daughter Dollbaby. Queenie and Dollbaby take Ibby under their wing, and Fannie tries to rise to the occasion as grandmother. Ibby has questions about the family’s past – but learns early on that asking Miss Fannie questions only leads to disaster. What exactly happened in the house in the past and how does it still have a hold on Miss Fannie? Added to this are several subplots, including the fight for civil rights during this time period and Dollbaby’s quest for personal freedom.

Ibby’s search for her family’s past history is actually a search for connection and for family in its basest form. She seeks to belong and form an identity, left bereft as she is by the loss of her parents. Miss Fannie is a multi-faceted character as well: just when I think I understand her, more information is revealed to show that she is more than one initially thought. I would have loved even more backstory on Queenie and Dollbaby!

I really enjoyed this story, which reminded me a bit of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT and THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. I love stories set in the South and I love coming of age stories with strong female characters. This is Ms. McNeal’s first novel and I look forward to more.

You can see this book online, or get it where I got mine: at your local public library!

FREE YA book on Kindle — 11/8-12!

My friends over at Smith Publicity have alerted me to a freebie this week! The YA novel THE SAFFRON FALCON by J.E. Hopkins will be available FREE for your kindle from 11/8 through the 12th. Here’s what they sent me about the book:
In The Saffron Falcon (Unseen Worlds Publishing, 2013), author J. E. Hopkins uses fantasy and what he calls “Transition magic” to explore the unique challenges faced by adolescents as they reach adulthood.

A dark fantasy-thriller, the book takes place in our world in the near future. Children can use Transition magic for one month as they approach puberty, but they must use certain ritual words and the magic must be unique. If it doesn’t meet these requirements, the child doesn’t make it to adulthood. Few children attempt to use their power because the danger is too great, and most who do use it, die.

“Life in the book can be tough. Favorite characters can and do die. Children can and do die,” Hopkins says. “Magic wouldn’t be very interesting if kids could use it with impunity. Some manage to find a way, but that’s the rare exception.”

The Saffron Falcon features two parallel stories: in one, United States security agents try to recover an ancient codex that would eliminate Transition magic’s uniqueness requirement. If they fail, dark magic will be unleashed on the world. At the same time, the book tells individual stories of children throughout time who have used Transition magic to save themselves or someone they love.

“This is the story of flawed adults either trying to protect the world from magic or trying to use magic to dominate it, while children struggle with the knowledge that Transition will probably kill them,” Hopkins adds. “Unfortunately, some young characters face circumstances that make them feel as if they have no choice but to use their power, no matter the risk.”

J. E. Hopkins is the author of fantasy thrillers including The Scarlet Crane (March 2012) and The Saffron Falcon (October 2013). A life-long reader, Hopkins says his writing influences include J. R. R. Tolkien, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Isaac Asimov, John Connolly, and Greg Bear, among others. The Saffron Falcon (Unseen Worlds Publishing, 2013) is available at http://www.amazon.com. For more information, visit http://www.jhopkinsbooks.com.
Sound good? I will be downloading myself a copy to read, too! 🙂