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Troubling Love

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  4,099 Ratings  ·  430 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 c ...more
Paperback, 139 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Europa (first published 1992)
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Michael Finocchiaro
Elena Ferrante's first novel is gripping and very well-written.
Feb 09, 2015 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
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, the-psyche
Those images of us from so long ago were yellowed, cracked, like the figures of winged demons in certain altarpieces that the faithful have defaced with pointed objects.

There's something devilishly chaotic about this first novel by Elena Ferrante. Somewhere in this infusion of memory and psyche wrapped in a blanket of refined language, are hidden clues and a mystery to be solved. Somewhere in this mother-daughter relationship is a meshing of two generations of women and one quickly realizes th
Fiona MacDonald
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Elena Ferrante has such a beautiful and lyrical way of writing. This time she tackles the painful subject of the death of Delia's mother from suicide. The novel plays as a love letter, interspersed with past and present memories Delia has of her life and relationships with her mother, her father and siblings. I think to be honest whatever topic Ferrante writes about is just a pure joy to devour.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, i-own-it, translated
3.5 stars While not my favorite of Ferrante's novels (it was her debut after all), I'm still impressed by her voice. Even from her very first published novel, Ferrante seems to be so sure of what she has to say—or at least confident in approaching touchy subjects and asking big questions. This book hits on a lot of major themes that resurface in Ferrante's later works: mother/daughter relationships, the male gaze, female bodies, identity crises, etc. And while it was a bit rough around the edges ...more
Rae Meadows
Jun 05, 2016 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
Dec 26, 2015 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.
Jun 18, 2011 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
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ferrante has the unique ability to make you forgive - if not love - humanity at its most hateful.

Sherwood Smith
Sep 07, 2015 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'
Aug 05, 2016 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
Jul 08, 2015 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
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s a mystery, though a well made one. It’s as if Ferrante were channeling Georges Simenon here, in her first novel, and doing quite a good job of it. A woman in her sixties is found in the ocean “at a place called Spaccavento, a few miles from Minturno.” She’s wearing nothing but an expensive bra, not her style at all, according to the narrator, the dead woman’s eldest daughter. This daughter, Delia, is not sound. She is assailed by a quasi-Modernist stream of consciousness. She has hallucinat ...more
Confusing, didn't know what the main character (Delia) was banging on about half the time. In the middle of scenes she went off on random tangents and delusions, I had to keep re-reading parts as it was hard to fully follow Delia's inner monologue and imaginings. By the end I still wasn't none the wiser as to what happened to Delia's mother or the part Caserta played or what Delia's weird feelings for her mother were. Worst of all though was the constant disgusting description of bodily fluids a ...more
Jan 06, 2016 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
Anita Pomerantz
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001-books
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
Stephanie Sun
Feb 02, 2016 rated it 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
Paul Fulcher
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Delia must simply manage to tell herself a story, which she knows well from beginning to end - which she has never repressed. The story has remained entangled in certain spaces of the city, in the dialectical voices through which it took shape. The woman comes into the labyrinth of Naples to capture it, put it in order, arrange space and time, finally tell her own story out loud. She tries and in doing so understands that, if she succeeds, she will also succeed in finally adding to herself her m
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jag älskar elena ferrante såååå mkt!!! Allt e guld
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 11, 2014 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
Marcello S
L’Incipit finisce dritto nella categoria “se lo inizi in libreria difficile che non te lo porti a casa”.

Mia madre annegò la notte del 23 maggio, giorno del mio compleanno, nel tratto di mare di fronte alla località che chiamano Spaccavento, a pochi chilometri da Minturno.

Per essere un esordio (anche se di uno pseudonimo, quindi vai a capire) lo definirei una discreta bombetta. Meno rotondo e inquadrato rispetto a L’amica geniale. Nel confronto chiaramente non farei a cambio ma son due cose dive
Aug 16, 2009 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
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tatianne Dantas
Reli para participar de um grupo de leitura e é, definitivamente, meu livro favorito da Ferrante fora da tetralogia. Acho que só agora consegui entender boa parte da estranheza que ela propõe e como é difícil montar o quebra-cabeça criado pelo enredo. E é um livro ótimo para discutir, aliás, é bonito como os livros de Ferrante provocam esse sentimento para fora, como se fizesse parte da experiência de leitura falar à exaustão a respeito deles. F-errante, parece que o movimento dos livros dela é ...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Jun 19, 2016 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
Sara Cantoni
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Duro, crudo e crudele ... ecco i tre aggettivi che sceglierei per descrivere questo breve romanzo di Elena Ferrante.

Un romanzo che vuole essere la rielaborazione da parte di una figlia ormai adulta del lutto per la madre. Una madre che ha sempre ricoperto un ruolo ambiguo nella vita della figlia. Una madre distante, difficile e incomprensibile che solo una volta morta, funge da finestra sul passato che rende tutto drammaticamente più chiaro.

Poche pagine, circa 170, ma intense e che non lasciano
Jun 21, 2015 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
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Call me biased but when an Italian author shows up on this list I always break into a smile. Usually I can relate to these books more as Malta is very similar in both environment and people and the translations are very good as Italian is a relatively easy language to convert into English. However I am going to say that I have some mixed feelings about Troubling Love.

Delia discovers that her mother, Amalia, has committed suicide by drowning and further inspection finds out that the only thing sh
Aug 23, 2015 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
Feb 08, 2014 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
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Unexpected and inappropriate but why ? 1 17 Dec 28, 2016 07:03AM  
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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