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All booksLiterary fictionFates and Furies
Fates and Furies  by Lauren Groff
Literary fiction

Fates and Furies

by Lauren Groff

Quick take

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

Leigh Haber
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.

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Member thoughts

All (409)
All (409)
Love (174)
Like (149)
Dislike (86)
422 ratings
  • 41% Love
  • 35% Like
  • 20% Dislike
  • Washington , DC

    The beginning of the book was quite slow, and I wasn't sure I'd keep reading but I am so glad I did. The slow start builds to such a great story. Great writing. Great characters. Great surprise twist!

  • New York, NY

    The reviews are so polarized on this, but I think readers just forget that we don't have many who write like this anymore. Her prose is pure poetry, running the full gamut of the human experience.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    As someone contemplating marriage, this novel of a marriage told from two perspectives is though provoking and lyrical read. It will remind you of how little you can know someone you love.

  • Springfield, MO

    Great book... very deep interesting characters and loved the way the book was told from different perspective.. very psychological and kept you totally engaged!

  • Somerville, MA

    An often-relatable, beautiful, if sometimes overwritten, portrait of a marriage. Though the prose could be (too) dense, the characters were deeply compelling.

  • Asheville, NC

    Not what I expected in a great way. Shocking turns and relationships that are so passionately written that you feel as if you're a part of them.

  • Cleveland Heights, OH

    Oh. My. God. This book broke my heart in all the right ways. I have been recommending it to everyone I know. Read it. It will change your life.

  • Las Vegas, NV

    This book is poetry in motion. Hearing about a marriage from the perspective of the famous playwright and his wife is truly fire and ice.

  • Dallas, TX

    I LOVED this. I loved how it was broken into the two characters's perspectives. Two sides to every story. And beautifully written.

  • Edmonds, WA

    I heard it called a nicer version of Gone Girl, which is very apt! Such gorgeous writing. And it doesn't go where you think it will.

  • Charlotte, NC

    Very interesting to see the same events from different perspectives and how people's experiences can affect how they perceive them.

  • Chicago , IL

    This book was a great read! It's interesting to be in the brain of two characters that have a seemingly perfect relationship.

  • Mechanicsville, MD

    Slow but interesting start, second half was quite the page turner. Love Lauren Groff’s writing style, loved this book!

  • New York, NY

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Intriguing story and so beautifully written. Will definitely read again

  • Palm Harbor , FL

    This book is pretty depressing, but I enjoyed it. These characters have issues! That makes a great book though right?

  • Danville, CA

    Crazy! A little hard to follow. What does it all mean?!? ???? Ashamed to say i could kinda relate to the wife!

  • Santa Barbara, CA

    Beautifully written and surprising. A lovely story about a wonderous man and his impressive, mysterious wife.

  • Raleigh, NC

    Great book! It was a little slow to start, but the progression of the story makes sticking with it worth it!

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Enjoyed the different writing style and different points of view. A fascinating look into a relationship.

  • Monticello , IL

    The second half of this book was better than the first but I appreciate the set up. Must read!

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