The book made me yearn for those years in my early life when I could afford to be a little reckless.
Why I love it
O, The Oprah Magazine
Several months ago, I attended a luncheon in honor of Lauren Groff where she read from Fates and Furies with fiery enthusiasm, eyes blazing. You could tell that this new work of hers was a labor of love. It was magical.
Early readers are describing this novel as being about the long course of a marriage, and it is that, but what really resonated with me is its depiction of adolescence, of passion, of selfishness, of narcissism, of beauty, whether careless or studied. It made me nostalgic for youth, and a little melancholy about what happens when that glow starts to fade. And in a funny way, the book made me yearn for those years in my early life when I could afford to be a little reckless.
Lotto and Mathilde are the husband and wife at the story's center. Lotto is charmed and charming; Mathilde is a beautiful enigma. They are glamorous in the way Bogie and Bacall were, or F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald—individually they are alluring, but together their appeal is dazzling. But, as is often true with real people, their exteriors mask what's really going on in their heads—the insecurities, the loneliness, the fear of abandonment. Their love props them up and bolsters them throughout their lives, yes, but what Groff conveys so exquisitely is that even larger-than-life creatures like these, who seem to have it all, wind up alone with their spinning thoughts at the end of each day, just like the rest of us.
As many references as this novel contains to Shakespeare, to Greek mythology, to playwrights obscure and well-known, it is not a cerebral book. It's a book that leads with its heart, and with a playful and exuberant language that is wholly the author's own. And there's also a little hint of Gone Girl in this book—secrets that the spouses keep from one another, and—spoiler alert—the narrator isn't always reliable.
If you are in the mood for something delicious, transporting, and a little self-indulgent, treat yourself to this exquisite novel.