FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff

From the Back Cover

Every story has two sides.  Every relationship has two perspectives.  And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets.  At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. 

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness.  A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

My Thoughts

FATES AND FURIES is a book I’ve been meaning to read for such a long time; it’s been casually chilling on my TBR shelf since 2017!  I’ve picked it up so many times to read the first few pages, but I could never get far past Lotto’s childhood.  This time, I was totally absorbed and had the hardest time putting it down!

“Women in narratives were always defined by their relations.”

I think the structure is really what makes FATES AND FURIES such a great read.  We spend the first 200 pages in Lotto’s head, following his life story from birth through adulthood, catching glimpses of Mathilde here and there.  Then, for the last 200 pages, we’re transported into Mathilde’s perspective, which begins as she’s an infant and alternates between her adolescence/young adulthood and present day as a middle-aged woman.  In utilizing this structure, Groff is able to paint an amazingly complex marital portrait between her two central characters, and she is able to show how our ideals influence our perception of people, particularly in a partnership.  Throughout the novel, Lotto is almost blinded by his love of Mathilde, so much so that she is able to hide secrets from him without a second thought.  Lotto and Mathilde absolutely come to life in these pages, and their marriage is so complex it even feels like a character in and of itself.

“Marriage is made of lies.  Kind ones, mostly.  Omissions.  If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you’d crush them to paste.  She never lied.  Just never said.”

I wasn’t expecting to love FATES AND FURIES as much as I did, given my previous struggles with picking it up, but I am so happy to say this is a new favorite!  Aside from Groff’s intense character portraits, gorgeous writing, and next-level vocabulary, FATES AND FURIES shines in its ability to portray an ideal yet wholly realistic romantic relationship.  After years of sitting on my shelf unread, FATES AND FURIES blew me away!!


  1. Literary Elephant

    Ooh, great review! I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but you’ve convinced me I really should pick it up. I’m glad to see you liked this one so much in the end, even after a few false starts!

    Liked by 1 person

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