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Enigmatic Italian author Ferrante's new novel out in English next year

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Rome (AFP)

English-speaking fans of Italian author Elena Ferrante must wait until next June to read her latest novel, to be published in Italian next month, settling for an intriguing title and provocative opening lines to whet their literary appetites.

"La Vita Bugiarda Degli Adulti" hits Italian bookstores on November 7, but its English version, translated as "The Lying Life of Adults" only comes out June 9, 2020.

Few details about the new novel are known -- fitting for the best-selling author writing under a pseudonym whose real identity still remains shrouded in mystery.

Ferrante's four-volume series "Neopolitan Novels," of which the first, "My Brilliant Friend" appeared in 2012 in English, sold over 10 million copies around the world and was translated into more than 40 languages, thrusting the writer into the spotlight.

On Monday, the new book's Italian publishers Edizioni posted on Twitter the novel's cover photograph in black and white depicting two outstretched hands.

In the new novel, Ferrante returns to Naples, the atmospheric backdrop to her famous series, but the work no longer centres on that saga's two gifted heroines, friends but also rivals in the post-war southern Italian city.

The opening lines of "The Lying Life of Adults" were released a few weeks ago by the publishers: "Two years before leaving home my father said to my mother that I was very ugly."

In 2016, Italian journalist Claudio Gatti claimed, after conducting an investigation into financial records, that the true identity of Ferrante was that of Rome-based translator Anita Raja.

Ferrante's publishers have neither confirmed nor denied that theory.

"My Brilliant Friend" was also adapted for a television series co-produced by Italy's national broadcaster Rai and US cable television network HBO.

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