Book Review: Fates and Furies


I’m finally getting back into my reading routine after a short hiatus due to work, thank God! I just finished Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, which has been named Amazon’s book of the year among other acclaim. This novel has been marketed as a seemingly perfect marriage is actually a web of secrets underneath. While I found this to be true, what I found in Groff’s novel went much deeper.

I found the structure of the novel very intriguing, Lotto (the husband) tells his whole story first. We only see events through his eyes, his wife Mathilde is only seen through him. Then the second half of the novel is focuses on Mathilde’s story.

Even during Lotto’s half of the story you can tell that Mathilde is the interesting one, she is the one with the true story. This makes Lotto’s story drag a bit, but it get’s across the desired effect. Lotto, short for Lancelot (yes I’m serious), is a wealthy, good looking, white male. He is overly impressed with himself and gets everything he wants. His redeeming quality is in his fierce love for Mathilde. If there is anything Lotto can love more than himself, it’s Mathilde.

Lotto is a struggling actor turned successful playwright. He always had the admiration of everyone around him, especially women. It is so stereotypical that it is almost painful, but Groff makes this work. The blandness of his story sets you up perfectly for the epic tale of Mathilde.

Mathilde, the woman behind the genius artist. Well we find that it is more like she is the artist herself. In her childhood she was someone else entirely, Aurelie a young french girl. Until her infant brother tumbled down a staircase and broke his neck, and she was at the top of the stairs. It isn’t clear if she pushed him but she very well may have. From there is shoveled from relative to relative that wants nothing to do with her.

She prostitutes herself to a man to pay for her college degree. Even then she realizes she needs security, she needs a man with money. She plots to meet and woe Lotto. She success. It all sounds very Amy Dunne, but she loves Lotto as fiercely as he loves her.

While Lotto and Mathilde have many secrets in their marriage, the one truth is their love for each other. This novel delves deep into perspective, privilege, men vs. women, and unconditional love. My only wish was that Lotto had as much characterization and depth as Mathilde. Wonderful novel, I recommend to everyone.



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