Lauren Groff’s novel Fates and Furies is my book club’s pick for this month. It’s a book about marriage, about misconceptions of marriage and about the ultimate reality that you may never really know a partner regardless of how many years you stay together.
I’d like to start by saying what I liked about this novel. Most of the reviews out there are polarized, with some people absolutely loving it and others heavily disliking it. I feel that I’m somewhere in between. The book is marvelously written. Groff’s exquisite prose really impressed me.
“They had been married for seventeen years; she lived in the deepest room in his heart. And sometimes that meant that wife occurred to him before Mathilde, helpmeet before herself. Abstraction of her before the visceral being. But not now. When she came across the veranda, he saw Mathilde all of a sudden. The dark whip at the center of her. How, so gently, she flicked it and kept him spinning.”
The book is written from two perspectives. Lotto’s (Lancelot) point of view (the fates part of the book), and Mathilde’s side of the story (the furies part of the book). the novel has many symbols and themes throughout the narrative with Mathilde’s account of the story being the most interesting part.
Although there were beautiful parts to this novel, at times it just didn’t feel real. The characters were so unlikeable and unlikely to really exist in real life. Do people go on in life talking that way? I don’t want to give too much of it away, but there were parts in the story that I just couldn’t see how someone could have pulled that off for so many years. I still highly recommend this novel for its beautiful prose, its interesting themes of marriage, lies and betrayal.