Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
To begin with, the tulmultous waters on its cover are indictative of the chaos and insanity with which you'll be met once you open to its pages. This is when I'm a-okay with judging a book by it's cover. This cover is every bit as intriguing and unsettling as the story inside.
The interesting thing about this book lies in the point-of-view of the main characters when it comes to each other. Usually, a person is more generous with their own intentions and behaviors than they are with those around them. Even those they love. Sometimes, even less so with those they love. However, Lotto and Mathilde were always harsher with themselves and more forgiving of each other. You know everything about yourself... all of your harsh thoughts and unfair judgments. All of your bad decisions and selfish motives. And in that case, you'd think that you'd be less understanding when it comes to yourself. But with human nature, that isn't the case... except for Lotto and Mathilde. And as we come to learn, I think this forgiving attitude comes from the unknown that lies beneath the surface of each.
I've heard this book referred to as anti-marriage and I wholly disagree with that. Marriage is an odd construct. But the joys and comfort Lotto and Mathilde sought (and found) in each other were clear in this story. And their characters developed over their 24 years together. While readers might think that their marriage was dysfunctional due to the secrets being kept, I feel Lauren Groff NAILED the marriage dynamic. It is completely impossible to fully know any person. We all live a separate life in our heads, and while you might share a bed with someone for over two decades... you will never fully understand every corner of their head and heart. And the love story of Lotto and Mathilde so perfectly expresses the mystery that lives at the center of every marriage.
And at this point in my review, I need to take a moment to rail against the idea that all books must be compared to another mainstream success. I fully enjoyed Gone Girl. But Gone Girl this ain't. Just because it includes alternating narrators and a marriage filled with secrets does not mean it is Gone Girl. It means it includes devices and themes that have appeared in literature since the invention of the written word. Hausfrau wasn't Fifty Shades of Grey and Fates and Furies isn't Gone Girl. Each book doesn't need a comparison. Each book is it's own universe. Let it be without trying to pigeonhole it. You're potentially losing readers when you employ this marketing (or reviewing) tactic. Let books stand on their own! ::hops of literary soapbox and twists ankle::
From the award-winning, "New York Times "bestselling author of "The Monsters of Templeton" and "Arcadia," an exhilarating novel about marriage, creativity, art, and perception. "Fates and Furies" is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.
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. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.