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Troubling Love Paperback – Sep 1 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (Sept. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933372168
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933372167
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The pseudonymous Italian author of Days of Abandonment returns with a daughter's attempt to unlock the mystery of her mother's death by drowning following years of domestic abuse. Days before her body washed ashore near her hometown of Naples, Amalia called her oldest daughter, Delia, now 45, with shocking news that she was with a man—not her estranged husband, a two-bit painter—then hung up, laughing. After the funeral (Amalia's husband doesn't show), Delia goes in search of the story behind the expensive new brassiere Amalia was found wearing at her death, incongruous for a poor seamstress who deliberately downplayed her good looks to avoid arousing her husband's savage jealousy. Caserta, a man who acted as Delia's father's agent as well as rival for Amalia's attention, plays a role here—and in Delia's past. In tactile, beautifully restrained prose, Ferrante makes the domestic violence that tore the household apart evident, including the child Delia's attempts to guard her mother from the beatings of her father. By the time of the denouement, Ferrante has forcefully delineated how the complicity in violence against women perpetuates a brutal cycle of repetition and silence. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Forty-five-year-old Delia returns to her childhood home of Naples, Italy, to discover the truth behind the drowning death of her mother, Amalia. Suspicious circumstances surround Amalia's last days; the humble seamstress, who never flaunted her beauty for fear of her jealous husband's wrath, was wearing nothing but an expensive designer brassiere at the time of her death. As Delia wanders the vibrant streets of Naples, she ponders three dubious men who figured prominently in her mother's past: Amalia's irascible brother, known for hurling insults at acquaintances and strangers alike; her husband, a mediocre painter with no qualms about slapping Amalia in public; and his lascivious agent, whose marriage never precluded him from propositioning other women. Ironically, it is her mother's death that enables Delia to make better sense of her own life. "I realized . . . that in fact I had Amalia under my skin, like a hot liquid that had been injected into me at some unknown time." Pseudonymous Italian novelist Ferrante (The Days of Abandonment, 2005) delivers a brutally frank tale about the dangerous intersection of rage and desire. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maybe I was not in the mood BUT it definitely did NOT grab me...I couldn't get through it fast enough....(speed reading only).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Do all women want to undo their mothers from themselves? July 25 2016
By Sonpoppie - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All Ferrante's main characters, in the six books I've read so far, seem to have mother issues. It's a difficult relationship - this troubling love. The women question their own roles as mothers, as daughters, as wives. There is ambivalence, struggles with society's expectations, and the demands of the patriarchy. And yet the girl is the mother. Ferrante has explored this doubleness before, the merging of two. "I was I and I was her. I-her met each other with Caserta".
Birth and death connected, an exploration of identity, sexuality. "Amalia had been. I was Amalia." This is a very psychological exploration of abuse, of love. The compounded and shared tears of women. The bleeding womb as weeping. Ferrante also explores the confusion of childhood; "Childhood is a tissue of lies that endure in the past tense: at least, mine was like that."
Ultimately Delia realises that she has become what she most feared - her mother.
4.0 out of 5 stars Troubling reading June 26 2016
By Catia Keiko de Campos Kitahara - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tense and intense. Above average book, not as good as her Neapolitan novels, but very pleasant and satisfactory reading. A sometimes nightmarish, sometimes suffocating story of mother and daughter, both victims of violent men who wants to control and possess their bodies and desires, but are unable. Not violence, not age can own those women, not even themselves.
4.0 out of 5 stars but I completely enjoyed her story telling style June 30 2016
By Elena Macias - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as engaging as other of her work, but I completely enjoyed her story telling style.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unknowability of Those We Love Nov. 21 2006
By L. Young - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"My mother drowned on the night of May 23rd, my birthday". So begins this first novel written by the reclusive Italian author Elena Ferrante. Delia, the forty-something daughter goes on a personal odyssey into the past to examine her mother, Amalie's life. When found dead Amalie, a modestly living seamstress is discovered naked except for the lingerie she is wearing from an expensive shop, something completely out of character for her. Why? Did she have a lover? Did she commit suicide? Was her drowning an accident? What role did her estranged husband, Delia's father, play? Into the tangled web of an abusive past Ferrante examines truth, guilt, the validity of memory and finally the essential unknowability of those we love. Although this novel has less dramatic thrust than Ferrante's "The Days of Abandonment" she is a master at crafting sentences of extreme beauty and power.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunny Napoli, Chick Lit No. Great Lit Yes. Oct. 21 2012
By propertius - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Many reviewers have approached this novel as a peculiarly intense story about a daughter mother relationship, a psychological, sexual introspection of a woman approaching age, even a mystery novel(see Yes it is all this and more. The adjective most often applied to this novel is intense. It is that and more. The attention to detail is unnerving and I dare say that the average or most male readers will experience for the first time those female attitudes and experiences that at time we males ignore, and that is my point.

Ms. Ferrante has written a novel that transcends ersatz dime store female literature and presents a moving picture of universal interest. Great literature is not great simply because a woman wrote well or not great because women by definition cannot or should not write (remember George Eliot).

But let me not belabor the obvious. I believe that two unremarked aspects of this novel are the brutally realistic picture of life in Naples (one need only read Ferrante's letter to the New York Times, available from Europa Editions) and the clever exposition of her male characters and their reliance upon women to define their existence. These qualities are what make it great and enduring.

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