Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff; 2015
I’ve been cured! Fates and Furies has whisked me away from my reading rut of too-long novels with big words and mile-long sentences. Finally a book in 2016 that I have truly loved and enjoyed all the way around.
First of all. Lauren Groff’s writing. Every single sentence is a delicious, decadent treat. Impossible to pick the best tine, because almost every sentence is the best line. I re-read the first two-and-a-half pages of this book more times than I can say because I was so impressed by it all, and there’s a lot to learn from them. It’s stunning.
Groff is also the queen of perspective. It’s the story of a marriage, told in two parts and two perspectives: that of Lotto, husband, and Mathilde, wife. Lotto is the simpler of the pair, open to the whole world, shining, blessed with genius and fortune. Mathilde, aloof and saintly, operates behind the scenes and holds most of the marriage’s secrets. We have to understand Lotto to understand Mathilde, and vice versa (note: neither are likeable). By the end of the book we have seen both sides of a marriage, but are left wondering which side to believe. I had done a decent amount of reading about Fates and Furies before I started it, so I knew that things were going to shift dramatically with Mathilde’s perspective. But where I was expecting a Gone Girl-level shift, it was much sharper and less extreme.
This book begs to be re-read, primarily because of the impulse to compare the two versions of the narratives, but also just to admire the construction of it. I would turn around and read this again tomorrow.
I put a freeze on buying new books for myself months ago; I haven’t purchased a new book since probably December, an all-time best (or worst, depending on how you look at it). But now all I want to do is run to the bookstore this weekend and buy Arcadia, Groff’s previous novel. So I guess the freeze is over.