This was a pleasant enough read to begin with – the story of two young people who marry two weeks after they wed. Lotto and Mathilde seem like many to be the perfect couple. They marry after graduation and stay together through a number of tough times – when Lotto is separated from the family fortune, his years as an unsuccessful actor, and even more years as a wildly successful playwright. The first half of this novel is entirely Lotto’s – his light shines the brightest, although Mathilde remains his touchstone, managing his creative personality and balancing both his dark and manic moments. It’s an interesting story and an unusual marriage. I read it with some interest over a week or so, and wondered with so many pages to go, exactly where author Lauren Groff was going to take me.
Then everything changes. Mathilde becomes the narrator – and we are thrust into an emotionally complex world as her character – seen only in the first half through Lotto’s eyes, is revealed to us in full. A passionate, angry and calculating woman emerges, a fascinating creature it is difficult to leave behind. Despite the leisurely pace with which I read the first 200 pages of this novel, I could not sleep last night before finishing the second half – which I had begun just a few hours before.
Both compelling and somehow also honest in even its most dramatic moments, Fates and Furies is a pacey and original read that will likely find a lot of fans.