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Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
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Fates and Furies (2015)

by Lauren Groff

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2,5431713,973 (3.59)203
"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"--… (more)
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» See also 203 mentions

English (169)  Piratical (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
I've seen Fates and Furies everywhere, people either love it or hate it. I hated it. After hearing the synopsis, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy, so disappointed in the end. The problem for me is the writing, so full of analogies, the flow of the story was ruined. I did like the difference in energy coming from Lotto in the Fates section and Mathilde in the Furies section, but that was about it.

As a whole, Fates and Furies is trying too hard, it would have had an impact on me if the writing wasn't so showy.

( )
  melissa0329 | May 12, 2020 |
The pace of the book sped up when Mathilde's side of the story was told. What a difference it made to the understanding of the book! You realized that Mathilde had plotted the first meeting with Lotte, plotted not to have children, had a hand in Lotte's career, and even kept Lotte's mother away for years. But you don't hate her. Lotte's sister and aunt don't hate her too, even showing her kindness which she felt she didn't deserve. That was one of the most touching moments of the book for me. ( )
  siok | Apr 26, 2020 |
You know how they say there are two sides to every story? Well, in Lauren Groff's novel, Fates and Furies, this is literally true. Roughly half of the story of this couple and their marriage is told from the third person close perspective of husband Lotto (short for Lancelot) with the other half similarly narrated with a close focus on wife Mathilde. It's a structure that sets the reader up to believe one story and then to pull the rug out from under them to show another story, no less true, or perhaps more appropriately, no less false, than the first. And that intentionally slow revelation of more depth, more layers, than initially suspected, could have been amazing but for the characters and the obviously effortful, overwritten prose here. This came so highly recommended by someone I trust that I bought it in hardcover. But it wasn't all that the premise promised (or that my friend promised either). And now I will trust her recommendations just a little less.



Mathilde and Lotto know each other for the blink of an eye before they get married, a marriage between the handsome, talented man used to being catnip to women and the mysterious, secretive, and intriguing woman whose own talents will go unrecognized. Outsiders consider their marriage a happy and successful one but only the people inside a marriage know the truth of their private lives, what makes them tick, and the compromises they've made to be mostly content with each other. Lotto, who is the subject of the Fates portion of the book is narcissistic and stereotypical. His family is rich and when they cut him off for marrying Mathilde, he promptly becomes the most celebrated and successful playwright of his time, lauded to the moon and back. His portion of the book is a long string of sexual conquests, both from the past and with Mathilde, that do nothing for the story whatsoever. (And lamentably, their descriptions are snooze-worthy.) When the novel flips to Mathilde's section, titled Furies, the reader gets a very different view of their long marriage, a view that paints Mathilde as the more mature and intelligent, if self-effacing, half of the duo. This reimagining is not entirely successful.



The idea of a Rashoman style narrative (although with only the two perspectives rather than several) should have been interesting and effective. Instead, the book was overwrought and pretentious. There were authorial interjections (more in Lotto's section than in Mathilde's) that were clearly meant to mimic a Greek chorus but they were instead unnecessary and their information was obvious to any intelligent reader. If readers hadn't already gotten what the interjections shared, there was a lack somewhere, either in the writing or in the audience and as one of that audience, well, I know where my money is. Lotto's portion of the narrative was frequently interrupted by long, numbing excerpts from his plays, rambling reimaginings of Greek myths that break up the flow of the narrative. Ultimately, I just didn't care about Lotto, Mathilde, or the state of the lives or marriage at any point in the book. It was slow, boring, and even the secrets and the much touted twist were, in the end, just meh. This is a very polarizing book and people seem to either love it or hate it so hopefully anyone else choosing to read it will find it far more engaging than I did. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jan 22, 2020 |
I am completely unsure about whether I liked this book or not. It's writing style annoyed me, I didn't find the characters likeable in any way, and yet I wanted to know what happened. ( )
  TheEllieMo | Jan 18, 2020 |
Read this book for it's hopelessness. ( )
  BONS | Jan 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
‘Fates and Furies,’’ Lauren Groff’s pyrotechnic new novel, tells the story of a marriage and of marriage writ large. It is also an exploration of character — good, evil, flat, round, genetic, forged by circumstance, all of the above — and a wild play upon literary history. Groff grafts the contemporary fiction of suburban anomie and New York manners onto künstlerroman, myth, and epic in a dazzling fusion of classic and (post)modern, tragedy and comedy.
 
Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and “Fates and Furies” is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers — with comedy, tragedy, well-deployed erudition and unmistakable glimmers of brilliance throughout.
 
The novel tells the story of Lotto and Mathilde Satterwhite. He is the darling of a prosperous Florida family – “Lotto was special. Golden”. She, an apparent “ice princess”, is the survivor of a past about which her husband has only the fuzziest idea beyond it being “sad and dark”, and above all “blank behind her”. The first half of the book offers Lotto’s view of their life together as he rises from charming but failed actor to celebrated playwright, thanks in no small part to Mathilde’s editorial finesse. The second half reveals that Mathilde has, through implacable willpower, transcended circumstances that read like a hotchpotch of Greek tragedy, fable and detective novel. Much of what Lotto takes for granted in his good fortune, it turns out, is due to Mathilde’s ruthless machination, right down to their marriage itself. She genuinely loves him, but she initially set out to win him for mercenary reasons.
 
Lotto’s story is fairly plausible, a life that might transpire in the world the rest of us inhabit; Mathilde’s story contains more outlandishly fictional twists than those of David Copperfield, The Goldfinch’s Theo Decker, and Becky Sharp combined.
 
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A thick drizzle from the sky, like a curtain's sudden sweeping.
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Hot milk of a world, with its skin of morning fog in the window.
In her sleep her eyelids were so translucent that he always thought if he looked hard, he could see her dreams pulsing like jellyfish across her brain.
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