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Troubling Love

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  1,766 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
"A deeply observed, excruciatingly blunt novel."-The New Yorker

"The raging, tormented voice of the author is something rare."-The New York Times

Following her mother's untimely and mysterious death, Delia embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. A series of mysterious telephone calls leads her to com
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Europa Editions (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 11, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
Based on the two Ferrante novels I've read so far (the other being The Days of Abandonment), I predict the title of this one will describe my relationship with all her works. Though I wasn't as drawn in at first by the narratorial voice here as I was with that of "Days", I ended up feeling much the same about both. They are not novels I can say I've enjoyed as they are so unsettling, but each has gotten under my skin and stayed there. Here too are abandonment issues: an anxious child unreasonabl ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Carmo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italia, bib-p

Não vale a pena fugir ao passado, quanto mais se foge mais ele nos persegue, até nos morder os calcanhares e nos moer de pancadaria, até o enfrentarmos e darmos de caras com a nossa própria cara. Às vezes, do que fugimos é de nós mesmos e o reencontro pode ser tão doloroso quanto necessário.

Escrita expressiva, de uma honestidade cruel que magoa e seduz.
Rae Meadows
Jun 11, 2016 Rae Meadows rated it liked it
Readers of Ferrante's other books will recognize familiar themes in her first novel--estranged yet intense mother/daughter relationship, violence in the home, violence in Naples, poverty, lascivious and aggressive men, disassociation from self, the body, the body, the body, particularly a woman's body. This book definitely suffered for me having read all her other work and seeing the themes better developed in later work.

Delia's mother has drowned in an apparent suicide, and Delia goes back to
Jun 28, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: europa-editions
Susan: Europa Editions, is Italy as depressing and confusing as it appears to be from a survey of your catalogue?

Europa Editions: Unenlightened Reader, what makes you think Italy is depressing? It is MAGICAL, as these two books, Troubling Love and From the Land of the Moon , clearly show.

S: Can you explain how confusing illusion for reality because of severe emotional trauma is not depressing?

EE: It’s not depressing because it’s a way of coping with ugly emotions and problems. Sure, you America
Nov 06, 2015 Marianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Childhood is a tissue of lies that endure in the past tense: at least, mine was like that”

Troubling Love is the first novel by Italian author, Elena Ferrante. The drowning death of her sixty-three year old mother, Amalia, sends Rome cartoonist, Delia back to her hometown of Naples for the funeral. The circumstances of Amalia’s death were a little strange: overdue for her monthly visit to Delia, she was found on the beach that was their childhood holiday destination, dressed only in an expensive
Sherwood Smith
Feb 27, 2016 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
A name that has recently gaining serious word of mouth, Elena Ferrante caught my interest, and here was this standalone book to try before attempting her series.

It's apparently her first novel, and of course is translated. It's also fairly short, though not the least bit a fast read. It took me a week, partly because of content.

Good: the prose, even translated, is a relief from the easy patterns encountered in so much genre storytelling, but at least genre books, even with pedestrian prose, don'
Sep 06, 2015 Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«Estava de tal forma decidida a tornar-me diferente dela que perdia uma a uma as razões para ser semelhante.»

A aferição de Um Estranho Amor é séria. Elena Ferrante, aliada a uma escrita licorosa, explora a perversidade, a legitimidade e o feiticismo de uma relação filial. Dila é uma mulher acabada que repensa e refaz a veracidade das acusações que infletiram o rumo do seu crescimento. Amália é uma mãe permissiva cuja elegância somática convida especulações e infelicidades de grande cabot
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 20, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Quite an interesting book. Although there are many unanswered questions in the end, I guess the ambiguity is part of the package as those are not what the author wanted to leave to her readers. The truth about the death of the mother is simply left open for interpretation just like how the relationship of the mother to her daughter is in the first place: cold, indifferent and distant. Just like many other situations I encountered from reading fiction, reading this book is like threading in an un ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 21, 2016 Frona rated it liked it
I started reading this after finishing the Neapolitan novels, hoping to extend the exiting journey that Ferrante took me on. With such high expectations, I was bound to disappointment. It's not that the book is bad, it just seems as a distant echo of her saga, with similar themes (closeness, domestic violence, clingy Napels), but without the captivating drive that would bind the reader to the pages. Maybe the problem lays in the outlines of her characters, which are too vauge and dreamlike to gi ...more
Adrienne Atkinson
Jun 22, 2016 Adrienne Atkinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, novel
Troubling Love asserts the mystery of identity with an engrossingly rhythmic and physical style. Delia, a middle-aged drawer of comic strips, unreliably narrates her return home due to her mother's death. As she investigates what really happened during her mother’s last days, she finds and alternately loses the thread of herself along the way. Ferrante uses such gorgeously simple pronoun-pivots like “I was I and I was her” and “I was no I” to imbue ambiguity and doubt upon Delia’s sense of self. ...more
Stephanie Sun
Feb 03, 2016 Stephanie Sun rated it really liked it
I have this theory that no Italian book or story can be fully appreciated without first parsing out the influence of Dante.

Elena Ferrante's first novel (original title: L’Amore Molesto - Elaine, does this mean what I think it means?) brims with Dantean obsessions like hypocrisy, exile, and purgatory, but, turning post-war Naples into an unpleasant breeding ground for numerous tiny acts of cowardice and indecency, she scratches at the blackened scabs of these obsessions until they open anew and b
Jul 01, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
Troubling Love is interesting to read as the book referred to partially in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels so far, but besides that, I am struggling with being a victim of the "Ferrante fever" but finding Troubling Love a disappointment. The writing is far too involved with itself, to the point of reading sentences that are too caught up in their own ornamentation that they are confusing. One sentence I underlined mentions a father who belongs to a generation that could not imagine waste. Now ...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Jun 19, 2016 Paolo Gianoglio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ero convinto di averlo letto poco dopo la pubblicazione, ora mi rendo conto che avevo solo visto il film di Martone interpretato da Anna Bonaiuto. Gli errori della memoria a volte ci fanno trascurare le storie che siamo certi di conoscere, perché tutti ne parlano o ne hanno parlato. Invece questo è un libro che merita di essere letto, astraendosi dalla “moda Ferrante”. E’ concreto, denso, fluido e intenso al tempo stesso. In questo libro il caldo appiccica, il buio è smarrimento, gli odori assal ...more
Nov 29, 2015 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a real punch in the belly. I'm going to classify it with the works that dig deep into the dark side of men and women. The story is about the struggle of Delia, a middle aged woman, with the death of her mother, Amalia. Delia has fled her home town Naples in an attempt to break radically with her mother and (the separate living) father. But after the death (suicide?) of Amalia Delia tries to unravel the mystery around the life her mother has led. She finds no really satisfying answer ...more
Anita Pomerantz
Jan 20, 2016 Anita Pomerantz rated it it was ok
A "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" book that should be on a list called "Books You Shouldn't Read Before You Die Unless Someone Is Paying You. A Lot."

Not sure how a 139 page book can seem so long and unnecessarily convoluted, but this one managed. It is the story of Delia, daughter of Amalia. Amalia drowns in the sea wearing only a beautiful lace bra, an item of clothing she would never wear. Sounds good so far, right?

And that's where the good part ends. The rest of the book is a mish mash of
Aug 17, 2009 Luann rated it liked it
A puzzling, dark book and that is usually not a problem for me, but this one didn't stick that well. I admired the writing (or the translation, rather) but didn't feel like I ever got engaged with either the characters or the subject matter. The book opens with the suicide of the narrator's mother and goes down from there. I think the title is apt -- all the love described in this slim volume is troubling in nature, love being loosely defined. Perhaps it just struck me as too dark and unhappy fo ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Rebekah rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. *Troubling Love* is a psychological masterpiece that twists, turns, and rarely gives the reader pause for breath. The novel is about the relationship between men and women, the relationship between mothers and daughters, and the intersection of the two. It is dizzying in its complexity, gnawing in its subtlety. Disorienting, bewildering, heartbreaking, and beautiful. For the first time in my life, I finished a book and immediately returned to page one ...more
Jennifer D.
elena ferrante truly has a handle on the emotionally dark and twisty natures people possess. humans are complicated and difficult to fully know, while at the same time one's own identity can be inconsistent and confusing. ferrante's style, through this translation, is sparse and compelling. but even with this sense of sparseness in the writing, there is depth and so much to think about with nearly every sentence. ferrante also gives such a strong sense of place in her stories, something i really ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian
In the nine years of silence between this, her first novel and the rest of her work that came after 2001, Ferrante developed hugely as a writer. This work is recognizably from the same world and metnal outlook but it feels a little more contrived and the style isn't as pared down and effective as in the later books. Especially at the start of this book she indulges in 'literary' metaphors that distract rather than add to the story, and the sentences and reasoning sometimes feel a little convolut ...more
Jul 16, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Because I LOVED the magnificent Neopolitan novels, I was prepared to be disappointed by this slender novel. I wasn't. The novel follows the chaotic journey of Delia as she confronts her troubled relationship with her mother. Ferrante's vivid, raw prose transported me to the streets of a pungent and scary Naples.
Jun 01, 2016 Emily rated it did not like it
I absolutely love Ferrante's writing style, but even that couldn't save the bizarre content of this book. The concept had so much potential: a daughter trying to learn the mystery of her mother's death with only a few clues. In 140 pages (which seemed more like 500), we basically read about a woman on her period running around Naples with a bag of her mother's underwear. When I wasn't confused about what was happening, I was just disturbed. Ferrante is a terrific writer, but please pass on this ...more
El alquimista del tedio .
El amor molesto (el libro que nos ocupa) fue el primer libro publicado de Elena Ferrante. Luego vendrían dos más: Los días del abandono y La hija oscura, entre otros. Los tres fueron reunidos bajo el título de Crónicas del desamor, publicado por la Editorial Lumen.

Ferrante como otros autores invisibles tipo Pynchon no quiere que nadie sepa nada más de ellos que aquello de lo que escriben, de ahí que en el libro no venga foto alguna de la autora, ni ningún dato biográfico.

El amor molesto plasma
Wouter Zwemmer
Aug 06, 2016 Wouter Zwemmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literatuur, read-2016
Prachtig duister debuut van de schrijfster die ons later de Napolitaanse Romans zou schenken.

Een vrouw verliest haar moeder doordat die op mysterieuze wijze overlijdt: ze verdrinkt op 60+-jarige leeftijd in kleren die niet de hare lijken te zijn. Het boek is de ontdekkingstocht van de hoofdpersoon, de dochter, naar haar moeder en onvermijdelijk naar haarzelf. Daarbij is het vreemde overlijden de aanleiding, maar het onderzoek van de dochter naar wie haar moeder is geweest omspant diens en haar
Mar 06, 2016 Luca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' un libro che colpisce quasi fisicamente. La storia della protagonista e del suo rapporto irrisolto con la madre, con cui deve necessariamente fare i conti dopo il suicidio di quest'ultima che apre il romanzo, si impone prepotentemente grazie alla capacità dell'autrice (diamo per scontato che sia una donna, non apro qui la querelle sul caso editoriale) di calare profondamente le azioni nel corpo vivo della città di Napoli, di cui porta quasi a percepire suoni e odori.
Il rapporto irrisolto con
Michael Meeuwis
Apr 06, 2015 Michael Meeuwis rated it it was amazing
It's official: Elena Ferrante can beat up Jonathan Franzen.

I'm still all about Ferrante--nearly to the point of putting on one of those high-visibility vests and standing outside a Waterstones somewhere, asking people if they've heard the good word. I think I may even like her standalone novels (this, "The Days of Abandonment") more than the Neopolitan Trilogy: these novels are sharper, and without the sweeping social context their protagonists can go a little bit crazier--and feel their psychol
Nov 09, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it
Troubling Love is my third book by an Italian author, who goes by the pseudonym, Elena Ferrante. The other two books, The Days of Abandonment and The Lost Daughter, also published as Europa Editions were a treat to read. All three books were translated from Italian, by Ann Goldstein who did a great job.

Troubling Love, packs a punch, beginning with the opening sentence...."My mother drowned on the night of May 23rd, my birthday, in the sea at a place called Spaccavento, a few miles from Minturno.
Jul 22, 2016 Chad rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-it
An introspective yet vivid account of one woman following the loss of her mother and the cobwebs left behind in her wake.

Elena Ferrante is one of my favorite contemporary writers. Her Neapolitan series and The Lost Daughter offer a great look at post-war Italy and examining the complexities of the inner lives and relationships of and between women. I was looking forward to Troubling Love, as this is the last of Ferrante's novels I had to read.

Unfortunately, I found Troubling Love to be inaccess
Oct 05, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
This novel (or novella), Ferrante's first, is my favorite of the pre-Neapolitan novels Ferrante. The magic she works with time and imagery is truly stunning. It's never perfectly clear when or where we are in the narrator's head, but it adds up to a brilliant voice and any confusion is gone by the end. And these images! Cardboard advertisement men and women standing in for her largely invented memories. Her one-armed uncle having a second arm only when dangling a child over a railing. This simil ...more
Ben Loory
Apr 25, 2015 Ben Loory rated it liked it
ferrante's first book. all the pieces are here, the concerns and the voice; it's just a little overly clever compared to what came after. lots of reveals and reversals and intentional obfuscations; i like it better when she just sorta screams the whole story. i probably would've liked it more if i hadn't read two others right before it. might take a little break before i start the four-book sequence.
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Elena Ferrante is a pseudonymous Italian novelist.

Ferrante is the author of a half dozen novels, including The Lost Daughter (originally published as La figlia oscura, 2006).

In 2012, Europa Editions began publication of English translations of Ferrante's "Neapolitan Novels", a series about two perceptive and intelligent girls from Naples who try to create lives for themselves within a violent and
More about Elena Ferrante...

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“In the crush men used the women to play silent games with themselves. One stared ironically at a dark-haired girl to see if she would lower her gaze. One, with his eyes, caught a bit of lace between two buttons of a blouse, or harpooned a strap. Others passed the time looking out the window into cars for a glimpse of an uncovered leg, the play of muscles as a foot pushed break or clutch, a hand absentmindedly scratching the inside of a thigh.” 0 likes
“Childhood is a tissue of lies that endure in the past tense” 0 likes
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