Fates and Furies

Finished Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.”

I read this for my online book club and I’m so happy I did, because otherwise I would’ve given up early.  This is an incredible novel, even though I’m not sure it’s one I enjoyed.

This is a hard book to get into.  The characters are all unlikable, and they’re not interesting-evil; they’re banal-evil.  They’re petty.  And the first part is told from Lotto’s perspective, and I liked him the least.  When we switch to Mathilde in the second part, the book picked up for me.

And here’s the other thing: I’ve never been married, but I imagine that this is one of the most true portraits of a marriage ever.  The way that secrets are kept—little ones—in order to keep everyone happy and the marriage intact and happy.

This book isn’t for everyone.  It probably isn’t even for most people.  The pace is deliberate and some would probably even say slow.  But it’s incredibly well-written and worth the effort.

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