Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Rating: 5 Cups of Coffee
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.

Natasha’s Experience:
Perception is everything. This story is a story within a story within a story. Sometimes the truth isn't as easy to see as we imagine it to be.

“The lives of others come together in fragments. A light shining off a separate story can illuminate what had remained dark. Brains are miraculous; humans storytelling creatures. The shards draw themselves together and make something whole.”

Lotto and Mathilde meet and fall madly in love in the course of just a few weeks. Their friends and family are either envious of their tumultuous love or dead-set against it. We grow into their life, living out their sorrows and their joys, experiencing all of their successes and defeats. It’s rare for me to feel so invested in a story and its characters’ lives when I’m reading third person, but FATES AND FURIES was too good to not fall right into it.

You can’t help but love Lotto, this man who is inherently good. He grows up particularly spoiled and has a hard time dealing with failure – he’s never not a winner. He loves Mathilde with fierceness yet is undeniably afraid of losing her.

“Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.”

Mathilde is a mystery, through and through. She is enigmatic, lovely, and always outwardly kind. I felt that Mathilde was always hidden in the shadows, the strong yet silent type, and the rock that Lotto would rest upon as he fought his way to the top. But you never really know a person do you?

“Great swaths of her life were white space to her husband. What she did not tell him balanced neatly with what she did. Still, there are untruths made of words and untruths made of silences, and Mathilde had only ever lied to Lotto in what she never said.”

FATES AND FURIES is refreshing, incredibly smart, and gives you surprises that are like little gems, leaving you gasping in awe. Lauren Groff, your brain is a mystery and I loved having a glimpse of it while reading your words. You are brilliant.


About the Author

Lauren Groff is the author of the novel The Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories, and Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award.

Her third novel, Fates and Furies, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in September 2015.

Her work has appeared in journals including the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Tin House,One Story, McSweeney’s, and Ploughshares, and in the anthologies 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and three editions of theBest American Short Stories.

She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and two sons.

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