Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies by Lauren GroffFates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Published by Penguin Group USA on September 15, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Family Life, Fiction, Literary
Pages: 400
Source: I purchased a copy of this book.
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Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.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. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.


The best book I’ve read so far this year.

So that I don’t get too exuberant about it, I’m going to list why in bullet points:

  • Impeccable writing. Groff’s way with words is absolutely ravishing.
  • Unlikeable characters you feel compelled to read about.
  • Rich characters with layers upon layers to their personalities.
  • Complex situations. Things are never as simple as they seem; can’t get too judgy.
  • Shocks and surprises throughout!
  • Wonderful pacing. I didn’t want it to end because I wanted to savor the writing, but at the same time, I wanted to race through to the end to find out more.
  • Stylistically interesting. Really enjoyed the omniscient narrator whose thoughts appeared in brackets.
  • Smart. Deeply meaningful literary references, from ancient Greek and Latin to more modern classics, that added a great deal to the overall novel. And I’m sure I didn’t catch all of them.
  • So much to talk about! Great pick for book club.

Speaking of book clubs, it seemed I was the only one in my book club who was over the moon about this one. But that didn’t stop us from having an almost 2-hour discussion about it!

And speaking of discussions, The Socratic Salon will be discussing Fates and Furies next month, spoilers and all. You won’t want to miss it.


  • I’m looking forward to TSS discussion of this one. I was kind of blah about the first section and would have put it down had I not known the second section turns things on their heads. I was over the moon about hte second part, however, and do want to read more of Groff’s backlist based on that!

  • I agree that it’s a super great pick for book clubs. I really liked it when I first finished, but I’ve come to appreciate it more as I think about all the intricacies – such a beautifully written novel!

  • I’m really interested in reading this book! It’s hard to read books with unlikeable characters, but it helps when they’re compelling.

  • Jennine G.

    Most convincing review I’ve read for this one so far! Thanks!

  • Oh, Monika! I’m glad you really really liked this one! I can only agree with # 3, 4, and your last point. For me, this read was virtually the opposite in all your other points. However, the characters were at least realistically complex and neither “good” nor “bad” but a combination of both! Groff’s writing style did not enthrall me in the least. I found it to be choppy and disconnected and the story was rather like that for me, too. Though I can see the potential for MUCH discussion! The interrelationships and secrets provide much material for that. I would never ask my book club to read it, however, because I’m relatively certain none of them would even make it through the first section! I barely did…and I typically persevere to the bitter end when I read!