Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies

To be honest, I was expecting more from Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff. Maybe I picked up the book with expectations that were too high, but the choppy writing and negative tone disappointed me. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like the book entirely, the story has many intriguing aspects including a look into the relationship of marriage.

Fates and Furies: A Novel is split into two halves, the first told from the view of Lancelot, known as Lotto, and the second from Mathilde. Meeting when they were each 22 years old, the pair marries two weeks later to the shock of their peers and families. While Lotto is a lover and has a charisma that people are drawn to, Mathilde is a loner who had a terribly sad childhood. Despite their differences, or possibly because of them, the couple fits together well and ends up outlasting other’s expectations of a divorce.

I was both frustrated and absorbed by the couple’s relationship. Lotto is arrogant and unaware while Mathilde is conniving and manipulative. It was clear from her section of the book that she plays on her husband’s weaknesses. Theirs is an interesting relationship because they love each other deeply, but each doesn’t feel that they deserve the love of the other.

I was intrigued by the sense of rawness throughout the story, of uncensored humanity, including the good, bad and the ugly. It was also interesting to experience scenes from the different perspectives of the husband and wife. The idea that people view and remember the same experiences so differently is one of the reasons why I chose to read this book in the first place.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the story and even when I finished, I didn’t feel like I was ever completely engaged. The story is choppy, skipping around from different perspectives and time periods, and while some characters interested me, others were dull and had me rushing through the pages.

Fates and Furies: A Novel is focused on one of the most fundamental relationships of all, marriage, and I felt sad after finishing it. I’m glad to have read it, but I don’t plan on picking up another one of Groff’s books anytime soon.

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21 thoughts on “Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff

  1. Thanks for the review! I put this book on my list almost immediately after I heard of it, but I hadn’t heard from anyone who had read it yet… I still think that I’ll read it down the road, but now I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite live up to all the hype.

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  2. Is funny the morbid curiousity thing, I read a bad review, and immediately think ‘I wouldn’t mind giving that a go, just to see!’ I think most normal people think they’ll give it a miss instead!

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  3. I had this book on my ‘to read’ list and a book club I’m in is going to read it. I will adjust my expectations downward when we read it in a couple of months. I just wrote my first review and I was nervous to post because it was a book that I was disappointed after reading. I posted it after reading a couple of your reviews now. Thanks for the courage

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    1. I’m the same way, I need to connect with at least one character to feel engaged in the story. This book is tough for that, in some ways I disliked all of the characters, but I also felt bad for them…

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  4. I agree with entirely. It’s so sad, this was one of my most anticipated reads and it was such a let down for me. I’m still having a hard time understanding how it was short listed for an award. I like her prose/writing style, but it didn’t come together for me in this novel. A bit too wordy/flowery and not enough substance.

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  5. I had the same experience that a lot of your readers and you, yourself had: this book was a let down. I wanted to pick it up for months, and when I finally did, the negative tone and choppiness ruined it for me. thanks for your honest review!

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