The lying life of adults

The best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend, a novel by Elena Ferrante is set in “two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity.” A young girl’s father says she’s turning ugly and beginning to resemble a mysterious aunt she’s never met. In search of her identity, she goes in search of her aunt and in search of the truth.

Transcendent kingdom

In Transcendent Kingdom, the sophomore novel from Yaa Gyasi, the author of the best-selling Homegoing, a family of Ghanaian immigrants experiences a crisis of health and of faith. Gifty is a Stanford Med School graduate student, determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised in a small town in Alabama.

Red Pill

Written by Hari Kunzru, after receiving a prestigious writing fellowship in Germany, the narrator of Red Pill arrives in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Instead of penning brilliant prose, though, he finds himself adrift and spending too much time binge-watching a violent cop show that is somehow weirdly compelling. After a chance meeting with the creator of the show, the narrator becomes convinced that the two of them are involved in some kind of cosmic battle that the sinister figure is pulling his viewers and turning them toward a hateful worldview. And also that he might be losing his mind.