Add one more book to my 2020 tally: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. I started it earlier this month and then promptly set it down and didn’t pick it up again until yesterday. Finished it this afternoon on a gloomy moody day here in Gainesville. Perfect weather for reading this novel.
It’s hard to describe, I mean it is a love story, but it has a bite. When the sinister parts revealed themselves, it was an unexpected treat. Groff tells the story of Lotto and Mathilde (married a few weeks after college graduation) in two parts – Fates first and then the Furies. Guess who has the inner fury. Lotto is beautiful, talented, needy, and with a mother for the ages. Mathilde is his cool and equally beautiful partner and wife, but who is she? Lotto is all family and friends and Mathilde is all Lotto. But she’s way more fascinating than that sounds.
I resisted reading Fates and Furies for years. I’d heard of it, of course, it’s been on a million book lists. And Groff lives here, she’s appeared at the main library! I don’t know why – do you ever resist an author you’re pretty sure you’ll like?
I finally got it after reading / following her on Twitter (of all places, I know). Her tweets are wickedly funny, literary, smart and often poetic. They finally got me to read her real work, which happily is the same.
I started the book not knowing a thing about the story, and I’m not going to give you too much more. I don’t want to diminish any twists or shocks or anything else. It’s the story of Lotto and Mathilde together, and their individual backstories and events that shaped them. Sounds ho-hum, but I assure you it’s not. At all. Things happen!
Groff’s writing reminded me a little of Donna Tartt (The Secret History and The Goldfinch). As in literary and occasionally over my head, with words and references I often don’t bother looking up. I just know that I like the way they feel and sound, and it’s enough. Even without really getting the meaning, everything flows.
Groff also, more recently, wrote Florida a series of short stories. So, if a sweeping novel doesn’t sound good right now, maybe look into this collection. Or at the very least her tweets 😊
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