I’ve been waiting for Fates and Furies for months. I read Arcadia by Lauren Groff and fell in love with Groff’s writing. Fates and Furies at its core is the story of the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde. Fates and Furies invites the reader into the highs and lows of Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage. Fates and Furies opens with the Fates half of the story as told by Lotto. Lotto is a failing actor at the start of their marriage, and later a successful playwright. Very quickly, the reader learns of their marriage on the beach at 22, and their ensuing life. The second half of the books is titled Furies and told by Mathilde, as she details their marriage from her perspective. Reading one-half of this book may leave you feeling as though you know them both entirely, but each half contains parts that were not evident from the other. Calling into question how well one really knows the other.
I’ll be honest – this book is a literary tour-de-force and slog all in one. I mean both of those things in the best possible way, but it isn’t a book I could read in a sitting. I was attached to and interested in the characters, but putting the book down wasn’t overly difficult, and often necessary. A decent background in literary allusions adds depth, and often humor, to the book, but it can be read and enjoyed without this knowledge. The allusions begin with the title – Greek mythology’s Fates and Furies and continue throughout the book. Groff is also frequently playful with her grammar, allowing clauses and sentences to be read with more than a singular meaning. This type of thoughtfulness doesn’t make for a quick read for me, but one with depth. Groff’s exploration of marriage, and the ways you can simultaneously know someone completely, and not at all, is interesting and insightful. Check out Fates and Furies!