Author: Lauren Groff
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library
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 know I've mostly been doing mini-reviews lately, but I figured my very first book of the year deserved its own post. Especially when we're talking about a much-hyped book like Fates and Furies!
I'll say from the outset that, while I did enjoy this novel, I was a bit mystified about all the 5-star reviews and "Best Book of 2015" designations that have been tacked onto it. There was a lot for me to like about Fates and Furies, but I wouldn't really say I loved it.
Number one reason I was into this book: Groff's ability to create wonderfully complex, nuanced characters. One thing that struck me about both Lotto and Mathilde is that their physical appearances never became entirely clear for me. While they both regarded each other as physically gorgeous, other characters in the book often described them as awkward and odd-looking, but still beautiful by way of personality or charisma. As such, I love that my vision of them was shaped more by their personalities than their actual physical traits. I think this also spoke volumes about their maturation throughout the book.
While Lotto came across is pretty naive and vain across the board, I was struck by the hidden surprises within Mathilde. For the first half of the book, she is often in the shadows, and I was looking forward to having her mysterious nature unveiled in part two. Sure enough, she had a lot of secrets to hide, and I loved the unexpected calculating edge to her character.
That said, I think the book didn't reach "amazing" status for me because there wasn't anything terribly unexpected within its pages. It is an interesting portrait of a marriage, and certainly includes many quotable passages about the subtleties of married life. But aside from the uniqueness of the two protagonists, I didn't find anything particularly new here.
Is Fates and Furies worth the read? Absolutely. Is it going to be on my favorites list for the year? Questionable. But I'm still quite happy with it as my choice for first read of 2016!
What are your thoughts on Fates and Furies? Read any good relationship dramas lately?