Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Published by Riverhead Books on September 13th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
“Great swaths of her life were white space to her husband. What she did not tell him balanced neatly with what she did. Still, there are untruths made of words and untruths made of silences, and Mathilde had only ever lied to Lotto in what she never said.”
I’ve seen this book promoted everywhere since it was published. I was always curious about it. What can I say, I love a good cover! But I happened to come across this copy in my sister’s building’s communal library so I thought I’d pick it up.
Fates and Furies shows that every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. And Lauren Groff demonstrates this with a look at the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde over the course of twenty-four years.
Lotto and Mathilde get married at twenty-two. Both are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of all their friends. But like any relationship, a marriage is even more complicated and more remarkable than meets the eye.
This book really frustrated me. I would’ve easily given this book a 5 bubble tea rating solely based on the writing style.
Groff has beautiful sentences that pull you in immediately. Trust me when I say that you will never have any trouble picturing a scene because of Groff’s descriptions.
Her writing reads very melodically. I actually think her prose would lend itself well to poetry or even song lyrics.
I found myself captivated by even the most mundane descriptions based on her writing style. Groff really demonstrates the power of a metaphor.
So, why the lukewarm rating? Once you get past the prose, you realize the story and characters are hollow. But Groff had me fooled for the first half of the book because of her writing. But I did come to, and when I did, I realized that the book is full of uninteresting characters and a boring plot.
Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.
I found all the characters either dull or absolutely despicable. Nobody had redeeming qualities. And if they did, they weren’t clearly on display for the reader. I can see where people draw the comparison to Gone Girl, but Fates and Furies doesn’t have quite the “twist” that Gone Girl did.
I did like the choice of having the book split into two halves and two perspectives.
I enjoyed reading Mathilde’s POV much more than I did Lotto’s.
I will admit that it was clever to see the truth revealed via Mathilde’s POV in certain sections rather than the rose-coloured glasses POV of Lotto’s.
The thing is, I do appreciate a good character study. Even if the characters are despicable. But Lotto and Mathilde were both too simple to care about. There was only supposed depth to them. I couldn’t grasp my head around why we should care about them and their marriage.
I will also say that this book had so many wildly random scenes. A lot of it seemed out of the realm of reality. But I think what frustrated me the most were the boring chunks of the book that contained extracts from Lotto’s plays.
Now, I don’t consider myself a prude. But I thought Groff overdid it with the descriptions of sex and sexual desire. It felt unnecessary, repetitive, and tiring.
I do think this book is for people who enjoy reading a book filled with beautiful language and metaphor, but don’t need to have a strong emotional connection to the story or its characters. But I’m not that reader.
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