Review: Fates and Furies

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Today I’m happy to share my title of a rather well-known title in the book world, Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies.

If you haven’t read it yet, the summary from Goodreads does it justice:

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. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

II give Fates and Furies four out of five stars.

I’m still a bit bewildered by this particular book, and I read it in June.  I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is.  I enjoyed reading it – Lauren Groff’s writing is exceptional, and I could tell after the first five pages that regardless of the quality of her story, I would enjoy her writing.

But then, there is the story.  The tale of twenty-five years in a relationship, and all of the ups and downs and twists and turns it takes.  In that sense, it’s not so different from other adult fiction.  And yet, there is something a little bit different about it.

Much in the same vein as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, the main characters in Fates and Furies become less likeable the more that you get to know them.  But frankly, at the end of the book, I was weirdly fond of both Lotto and Mathile, despite being confused by them.  They’re neither of them terribly likeable deep down, but they seem so wonderful on the surface. It certainly made me wonder what people would think of me if you boiled me down to my bare bones, my essence. So that’s what Groff has done here – she’s made us think.

What’s more, the theme of what makes greatness really resonates with me, even now.  What makes an individual great? Being told he’s great? Knowing in his bones that he’s great? Or is it the person who makes him great, inspires him to be so? And what if, at the end of it all, that greatness is just a veil? As I said, I am bewildered; I have more questions than answers, even now, almost six months out. But I’m inclined to like a book that I’m still contemplating months later.

If you are on the hunt for a book you can pick up and sink into, but not a book that will keep you up past your bedtime, then this is a great pick for you.

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