Review published on August 26, 2015.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is a clever and somewhat chilling novel exploring the true nature of marriage – first from the perspective of Lotto, the husband, and then, much more interestingly, Mathilde, the wife. Intimidatingly glamorous they are the envy of both friends and enemies. People can hardly believe that Lotto, known for his love of women, is able to stay faithful and no-one, least of all Lotto, can understand why Mathilde won’t give her universally adored husband the children he longs for.
Neither are particularly sympathetic characters but Groff is a skilful writer and my opinion of them both changed almost page by page. She cleverly and consistently challenges your assumptions and surface perceptions making you realise that sometimes what you see is only what people want you to see.
There was a point towards the end of Lotto’s half of the story where I began to find his relentless self-absorption tedious and my attention began to drift – but my subsequent sympathy for Mathilde became a lot more complicated as her story began and the reality of their ruthless devotion was fully revealed. Overall I found this to be an insightful, brilliant and sophisticated read which only very briefly lost its way, recovering magnificently.
Mel Mitchell, August 2015
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
William Heinemann hbk (17 Sept. 2015)
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