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Troubling Love

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3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  527 ratings  ·  69 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
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Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Europa Editions (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Teresa
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
Susan
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
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K.D. Absolutely
Aug 20, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
She never did find out why her mother drowned, wearing a new lingerie, near the beach where they used to spend their holidays when their family was still whole, and if she died by accident or had killed herself. As she narrates, however, there are hints of all sad possibilities. She had a father whom she hated and who hated her; he who may have loved her mother too much; a mother who had loved them all but who may have had another lover apart from her husband; a childhood sin which made a martyr ...more
Luann
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
Mara
Ho scoperto la Ferrante leggendo “La figlia oscura”, un libro che mi è piaciuto moltissimo e sull’onda del piacere di questa scoperta ho iniziato a leggere “L’amore molesto” con tante aspettative, purtroppo andate deluse. Rapporto madre –figlia contorto, la trama ed i personaggi sono eccessivi e subdoli, e il tutto è ambientato in una Napoli volutamente cupa ed angosciante. Saranno state troppo elevate le mie aspettative, ma questa storia morbosa e questo rincorrere biancheria sporca proprio non ...more
Rebekah
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
Anita Pomerantz
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
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Diane
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.
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Eileen
Full of motion, activity, and physicality, so much so that at times it was hard to take. I saw the term "impressionism" in another review; yes. In one way, this is a normal plot to explore: daughter, after mother's death, is compelled to find out more about her. The execution is so vivid and headlong, however, and the circumstances and setting so continually mysterious yet blatant, that the book becomes more than the sum of its parts.

There are clearly some good modern Italian novels out there. T
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Lisa
I enjoy her work as much for the lyrical prose as for the content. The credit must go to the translator as much as the author. She captures emotion and relationship so well with so few words. Besides all the dysfunctional love, this book is about how we all reinvent ourselves and use different personas in life and in death. The protagonist is left with more questions than answers when she explores her mother's death. One wonders if one really knows anyone in life and one can choose a story surro ...more
Michael Meeuwis
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
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Claudia Putnam
I think this is Ferrante's first novel, no? It's an impressive debut, but because it's the third book of hers I read I felt a little tired of the high-strung narrative POV... high-strung + thin-skinned + probably deluded and mood disordered. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Ferrante writes this character very, very well. But I wonder if she can get out of this woman's skin for a bit, ever?

Anyway, disturbing subject matter as always, and I do like the twistedness of the characters. It'
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Sharon
I'm not sure about the ending, but then, I'm not sure about anything when it comes to this writer. What I love about this book is that it takes me on a wild journey to discover who Amalia really was, her hidden life, her loves, the circumstances surrounding her life and death. In a way, it is the archetypal journey of all daughters trying to sort out the mother-daughter relationship. Ferrante does not make it easy for us. She pulls the reader in with unsavory memories, indelicate witnessing, dis ...more
Sorayya Khan
This is the first Elena Ferrante novel I've read. Her spare language and direct style work to highlight an intricate and intense web of tension throughout. The story was disturbingly intimate, a deeply personal look into the mind of a woman struggling to make sense of her relationship with her mother, her mother's lover, her mother's lover's son, and others. The novel was an uncomfortable but powerful read.

"In the faces of the old it’s difficult to trace the lineaments of their youth. At times
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Clare Fitzgerald
So my Classics book club has an occasional habit of dipping into “modern classics,” which is something of a contradiction-in-terms, and usually means “stuff marketed as litfic.” One of these days I’m going to start skipping these, as so far I don’t often like them. I’m not sure why I decided to participate in reading Elena Ferrante’s Troubling Love, but I am rather glad I did, as I like it much more than any of the other “modern classics” we’ve read.

I almost never read litfic, as I have Issues A
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Jeff
I liked this book. Much of the time I wasn't quite certain what was going on and I was about 20 pages from the end for about 5 weeks before i could finally bother to pick it up and finish it, and i don't really have anything to say about it other than it was beautifully written. But I liked it - just not completely sure why...
Frank
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
Luca Magagni
Grandi momenti stilistici e intimi in questo libro di Elena Ferrante, autrice dell'incredibile "I giorni dell'abbandono". Sempre una figura centrale di donna, anzi di due donne che si inseguono figurativamente per tutto il romanzo in una ricerca personale e angustiosa di quanto è successo, di cosa siamo.
gokce
This reads like a sketch of Ferrante's other work, as its narrative devices are very similar to her Neapolitan books and the Abandonment book. We start with a missing person, who is close to the narrator, and we go back in time to resolve this mysterious disappearance. As with her other works, the narrator vividly describes the urban violence, feminine routines and uncalled for sexual encounters she witnesses as she seeks to uncover the key event. The book felt slightly different from her other ...more
Pascale
I thought it was time I tried something of Ferrante, but now that I know from skim reading many reviews on Goodreads, I think I'll leave it at that. I was interested enough to find out what really happened to Delia's mother, but got increasingly frustrated with all the contradictions, red herrings, and scenes where you can't tell whether something is actually taking place, or is just another of Delia's fantasies. Of course what the author wants to do is to make us experience the same disorientat ...more
Monica
Delia ritorna a Napoli, per i funerali della madre, morta annegata in modo poco chiaro. Inizia per lei un viaggio allucinante e ai limiti dell'onirico, tra traumi del passato e situazioni irrisolte, conflitti interiori e paure recondite. Ma soprattutto inizia la resa dei conti tra Delia e sua madre, che lei non chiama mai mamma ma solo e sempre con il nome di battesimo, Amalia, quasi quella donna fosse una creatura lontana e sconosciuta. Inizia una lotta per capire cosa veramente è successo a qu ...more
Andrew
I'm reading this through Rooster,the iphone reading app that serializes two books each month. This is March 2015's co-selection (the other is Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"). Certainly I want to know what happens next and that's why I go back to it but it's absolutely unsettling. None of the characters do what's expected, or at least what I expect. I'm reminded of a quiet movie filmed in close-up so the viewer, unable to see peripherally, comes to believe a menace will suddenly pop into frame. So ...more
GONZA
Dalla stessa autrice de "I giorni dell'abbandono" e scritto prima di questo, ecco un altro romanzo la cui lettura è molto difficile. Una volta terminato mi sono trovata a pensare che fortunatamente erano poche pagine (171 scritte grandi), altrimenti sarebbe stato un altro incompiuto nella mia lunga lista di sospesi.
Critiche molto positive sono state fatte all'autrice (massima narratrice italiana dai tempi di Elsa Morante, secondo D'Orrico del Corriere della serva - Elsa mia tappati le orecchie)
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Jessica Woodbury
I would not want to read this book without my book club. Having other people to talk to made the themes jump out and the issues of old/new, patriarchy, rural/urban, and sexuality all turn into something more than my own experience with the book.

Our group consensus was that reading this book is much like sitting in a stifling subway car. But that's a compliment, reading it is such a vivid and affecting experience. Ferrante's language is heavily physical and visual and I love reading a book where
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Gina Rheault
Mother disappears and is found washed up on a beach wearing little but a fancy lace bra from a well known Naples lingerie shop. Strange, because she is a seamstress so poor she mends her panties to make them last just a bit longer.

Daughter Dellia traces mother's last steps, and in a style that seems like murder mystery within a dream, within a troubled psyche, one senses what it must be like for an adult to tense up with old childhood nightmares, old scenes of parental violence, childhood fears
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Suni
L'amore molesto di chi/per chi?
Questa è la domanda che fa da rumore di fondo al romanzo, e a cui procedendo nella lettura mi sono trovata a rispondere in una decina di modi diversi, probabilmente tutti giusti e tutti sbagliati nella stessa misura.
Quindi alla fine sono rimasta nell'incertezza, ma pienamente soddisfatta per altri motivi, primo fra tutti la precisione con cui la Ferrante scava quasi fisicamente nella testa della protagonista e in particolare negli angoli più nascosti della sua memo
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Kristie
This author has been getting quite a bit of press lately due to a certain mystery that surrounds who she actually is etcetera etcetera. I decided to read this slim little volume to get a sense of her and what the critics were talking about. Generally I enjoy Italian fiction - especially post war - and this novel has the spare feeling of Italian post war fiction.

The story is about a 40-something year old woman who tries to discover the circumstances of her mother's life and death. It is a back a
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Dianne Wood
Who is this Elena Ferrante? I have consumed six of her books now. She has given voice not to the construct of what we wish to sound like, or of who we would love to capture as an author or writer - but to that voice that whispers from within. That niggling shoulder tap, that authentic volt that causes the knee jerk reaction, a voice that whispers bad things, troubling things, honest things. This is the voice that speaks in memories as we understood them at the time.
Ficie
Pessima lettura. Scrittura poco scorrevole, ambientazione angosciante (la Napoli della Ferrante è più labirintica della Venezia di Ian McEwan), interesse ossessivo verso il corpo femminile (quante volte si parla di vagina, e macchie di sangue mestruale, e mutande usate riindossate da persone diverse, in un libro in cui tutto sommato le descrizioni dei personaggi sono ridotte all'osso).
La donna viene vista (e vede se stessa) come oggetto da possedere (e quindi costringere, picchiare, umiliare) o
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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).

n 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
More about Elena Ferrante...
My Brilliant Friend The Story of a New Name The Days of Abandonment Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay The Lost Daughter

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