Tuesday, August 16, 2016

strictly literary: fates and furies by lauren groff

sometimes i wonder if i might have liked a book better if i'd listened to the audiobook instead of reading it. but when i think of fates & furies by lauren groff i go back to the fact that i so disliked mathilde, and while i didn't mind lotto so much, he's also a ridiculous character. but the book won so many awards. it seemed like everyone was in love with it. and i mean, the writing is gorgeous. it's lush but not too abstruse or impenetrable. i actually read this over two nights. rather quickly because i borrowed it from the library and then let it sit on my nightstand until it was just about due and i couldn't renew it because someone else had a hold on it because everyone and their mother's book club was reading this thing.

in the end it's a story about marriage and the lies we tell each other to get on with life. and how no matter how much you love someone else, the tiny things that you do to keep the peace cut away at your soul. and sometimes when you come out the other side of the war or the argument you don't even recognize yourself.

what makes the novel interesting isn't so much the story, but how the story is told. it flashes forward and back. and part 1 is told from lotto's perspective while part 2 from mathilde's. they are clearly halves of a whole, while you can argue that reading just lotto's side of the story is satisfying, things are brought into focus when you read mathilde's side too.

i get why people loved this. but i don't read books to appreciate the artistry of putting them together. i read books for the plot and the characters. there isn't really a story here, and the characters are just kind of despicable. so for me, it wasn't the best book ever. it was a well-crafted one, sure. but more of a chore than a delight.

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