December and January were hectic! My husband had emergency surgery, then came the holidays, then my work was super intense. And that was just me! Our other Land Mermaids had some crazy times going on too. Needless to say, book club fell a little behind. At the beginning of February we finally met to discuss our latest read. Fates And Furies was named Amazon’s 2015 Best Book of the Year, was a New York Times bestseller, and was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, so I admit, I went in with pretty high expectations. We ate at one of our favorite places again, Wheatless (OH GLORIOUS SWEET POTATO FRIES) and had a lovely discussion about life, work, and eventually this book. I missed those girls after being away from book club for so long.
Title: Fates And Furies
Author: Lauren Groff
Published: September 15, 2015
Format I Read: Kindle
Synopsis: Lotto and Mathilde are young, beautiful, and in love. From their separate beginnings, to how the world brought them together, through the final stages of their marriage and lives, this is their story.
Thoughts: My first thoughts when reading this book were entirely about the writing style. Groff writes in choppy, frenetic fragments that are difficult to follow at first. Not difficult to understand, but to follow in a sense that the style is so different I was unable to focus on the story because I was so focused on the actual writing. After a few chapters, I was unsure if her style had lessened in its “creative” intensity or if I just finally got used to it, but eventually it becomes readable and loses its distracting quality. The story is told in two separate parts (the Gone Girl template, again) with the first half being narrated by Lotto and the second half told by Mathilde. Groff gives us the full story on both sides and does an excellent job of showing that even though together, each was totally unaware of the full extent of the other’s world. I do find that an interesting thought. No matter how close you may be to someone, they still only see what you allow. Lotto was mostly an open book whereas Mathilde was a closely guarded secret which made for a nice juxtaposition.
All of the characters were unlikable, but it it doesn’t stop you from being pulled into their world. I wouldn’t call this a page turner. It didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, but it did make me care enough about the characters to want to see how it ended. There were some unexpected happenings (I wouldn’t call them twists, per se), and one specific happening that I did not see coming at all. The transition between the two parts is slightly jarring as you’ve spent quite a lot of time invested in Lotto’s side of events and the way he views the world. Being immediately thrown into Mathilde’s mind requires some acclimation. I think that is accurate to life though, when you consider it. If I were to suddenly see the world from inside another person’s point of view, it would probably be unsettling, to say the least.
I am still not entirely sold on this being the best book of 2015. I enjoyed it. I am glad I read it, but for me, there are probably books I would have enjoyed more. From a technical standpoint, it is a bit of a wonder which may lend to it’s award-winning stature. If you enjoy literary fiction and aren’t afraid of a challenge (at first, anyway), then this would be worth your reading time.