Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
When I first finished, I felt like I wanted to cry. Not for any of the typical reasons, like not wanting to leave the characters behind, or even a powerful emotional conclusion. I was angry. I've been taken for a ride.
Part 1: Fates is Lotto's version of events, his life story and point of view through he and Mathilde's marriage. For all the raves touting the author's "stunning prose" I was mostly bored, and sometimes annoyed with him. All but one of his plays were uninteresting. There are only so many ways to describe someone who's born rich and through either sheer luck or charisma (questionable, given the multiple descriptions of his acne) manages to stay well taken care of despite his lack of knowledge in how the world works. We get it, she loved him in spite of his privilege and obliviousness. It says a lot when the most compelling thing about the guy is his need for constant adoration.
Part 2: Furies is Mathilde's side of the story. When I first started reading her voice I rejoiced! Maybe this book would save itself from exaggerated self-awareness. She was actually interesting in her own telling - Mathilde had a brain and a history you (Lotto) never knew! She wasn't likeable... neither of them were really, but she didn't have to be. She was sharp, with more under the surface and behind the scenes than you'd ever expect. Then things went wrong again. The timeline in the second half jumped around so badly! I can handle a flashback or two dozen flashbacks if they make sense, but Furies gave no warning and had no sense of order. In the end, this couple did few things right, which is probably realistic, but made this novel hard to embrace as a whole.
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