Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Review)

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(Mild spoilers)

Fates and Furies has been steeping in my mind for a little while now and I don’t know how to feel about it. It was a roller coaster of emotions! The blurb caught my attention right away: “the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets.” The story is about Lotto and Mathilde and their perfectly perfect marriage. It is split into two sections for each character that felt like two separate novels to me in terms of pacing and tone.

Lauren Groff knows how to write delicious sentences. The writing in Lotto’s half is memorably flamboyant. I loved it. Whenever I put the book down I was itching to get back to it. Case in point:“Hurricanes of entitlement, all swirl and noise and destruction, nothing at their centers.” 

In the start of the novel, we are introduced to Lotto and Mathilde honeymooning on a beach. They had met at a college party a few weeks ago. R e d f l a g. There is a seemingly innocuous third narrator who appears within square brackets throughout the novel, who (I believe) is marriage personified.

Lotto is six feet six, an heir to a fortune, an aspiring actor, later a playwright and Mathilde… well, we know nothing about her background until the last 150 pages. And it is seriously messed up: I’m talking Lady Macbeth having a love child with Amy Dunne. The terrifying questions this novel made me think about were a) how well do you really know someone close to you? b) are omissions or silences untruths?

Do I recommend Fates and Furies? I would, but with some caution. It is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

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