Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Published by Windmill in 2016
My copy: Library
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 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 behind closed doors things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.
I have quite mixed feelings about this novel – and judging from other reviews I have read, while the critics loved it, it has definitely divided people.
The book is split into two sections, and we start with Fates where we meet gorgeous golden couple Lotto and Mathilde, young, beautiful – and married after knowing each other a mere two weeks. We find out a bit more about Lotto’s messy childhood, and then we speed along through the years, revisiting the couple at different parties they hold with their motley crew of friends and acquaintances.
I quite enjoyed the first 100 or so pages as we learn more about the couple and their friends. Throughout this section, Mathilde remains a complete mystery, and I was looking forward to finding out more about her in part two. However before we get there, we have a good bit more of Lotto’s story to come, and the book dig start to drag at times. And this is not to mention the highly pretentious language that much of the book is written in! It is very overblown at times, and much of this is quite unnecessary and adds nothing to the story, and I did find myself skimming – or skipping – over the odd paragraph here and there, and I think the style of the novel has definitely put off a lot of other readers.
But despite this I was still interested to find out how the book would pan out and what Mathilde had to hide, and when we finally get to her section – Furies – I felt that the book did pick up pace and become more interesting. I really liked the way that we found out much more about the couple’s relationship by hearing the other side of the story, and Mathilde definitely had some secrets of her own.
Overall I did like the book – I found the characters interesting (even if they were pretty unlikeable), and I think the second half did round off the story nicely. However the style of the book is frustrating and I can totally understand why people would ditch the book altogether as it does ramble on a lot. There is also a LOT of sex, which actually becomes a bit tiresome! I think the book could have done with being cut down by about 100 pages to make it more palatable. But overall, I did find myself quite liking it despite myself!