fates and furies


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Out there flitting around in the internet ether are comparisons between Lauren Groff's new novel, Fates and Furies and Gone Girl. I must swallow my irritation and accept that this is inevitable because it is the story of a marriage and it does switch from the husband's point of view to the wife's perspective midway through. 

But let me assure you: that is where is similarities end. Just a general structure of the novel and two alternate POVs of a marriage. Whereas Gone Girl is about two generally despicable people who never should have married in the first place (and note, mind you, that I liked Gone Girl), while Fates does have (incredibly understandable) flashes of irritation and misunderstanding and anger, ultimately it is about love and about what we'll do for those we love, even if they have no clue what we've done.

  Image by Lucy Schaeffer

Image by Lucy Schaeffer

I read Groff's first novel, Monsters of Templeton, years ago and quite liked it. Somehow, to my shame and disappointment in myself, I haven't read her two other works between that one and this. I was pleased when Riverhead Books (an imprint of Penguin) offered me the opportunity to review Fates so that I might re-discover this incredible author. 

"Mothers, Mathilde had always known, were people who abandoned you to struggle alone."

"It was mathematical, marriage. Not, as one might expect, additional. It was exponential."

"Sometimes, when Lotto was alive and he was in full steam up in his studio in the attic and she could hear even in the garden outside as he cracked himself up, doing his character's lines in their own voices, she had to put on her running shoes and set off down the road to prevent herself from going up the stairs and warming herself against his happiness; she had to run and run to remind herself that having her own strong body was a privilege in itself."

"The grandmother was like her son, square, strong-features, taller than most men. Her mouth was carved down into a sharp n shape. She had a granite lap and a way of puncturing the jokes of others by sighing loudly at the punchline." 

I adore it when novels include stories within the story, such as the novel Hazel falls in love with in The Fault in Our Stars. Though there isn't only one central and prevalent sub-story within Fates, because Lotto is a playwright, we're treated to synopses and excerpts from his many plays, which enriches the experience. 

Fates refers to Lotto's life and experiences, wherein all of his actions, even inclusive of the day he was born seem, to him, fated. We later learn through Mathilde's perspective in Furies that Lotto's overriding fate was to have women in his life who loved him deeply enough to make his life seem more enchanted and magical and easy, often through sacrifices of their own.  

Highly recommended.

*Please note that the excerpts I provided above are from the advanced reader's copy provided to me by the publisher. There always exists the possibility that changes may have been made before publication. I was unable to obtain a copy from the library before posting my review due to the many, many holds on the novel, which is pleasing and well deserved.