I forgot to report on our last book group meeting, where we discussed Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. The book has been playing to rave reviews everywhere, and if you've heard anything about it, it's likely that it's a literary version of Gone Girl. Well, structurally, yes—the first half of the story is told by the husband and the second half by the wife—but this one is by no means a whodunnit. Here's the Amazon Best Book of September synopsis:
Many a therapist will tell you that honesty and transparency is the glue that keeps a relationship together. Lauren Groff cleverly turns this concept on its head in Fates and Furies, demonstrating that sometimes it’s what you don’t say—to protect your partner’s vanity, their reputation, their heart—that makes a marriage hum. (Until it doesn’t.) Broken up into two parts and numerous perspectives, this dazzlingly told tale of one such marriage introduces us to Lotto and Mathilde. The former is an out-of-work actor turned successful playwright, although some of that success is fueled by forces his ego obscures. And then there’s his adoring and enigmatic wife, Mathilde, who we later find out is a far better actor than Lotto ever was. For all the smoke and mirrors, Groff crafts a convincing love story that packs an emotional punch, especially when certain truths are revealed. There is also something satisfying in finding out the extent to which our own perceptions are skewed as the narrative unfolds.
In the first half of the book, we meet Lotto, who is a charismatic, narcissistic, guileless, happy -go-lucky golden boy. We don't really wonder what makes him tick, because he doesn't really tick: What you see is what you get. His wife, Mathilde, is more enigmatic, and we wonder a great deal about what makes her tick. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I found the revelations in the second half of the book to be so outrageous, so implausible, as to make me downright angry. Most of the questions I had in the first half were indeed answered in the second, but most of them in ways that had me just saying to myself, "HUH?" Other people in the book group had an almost opposite response: They were bored silly with Lotto and at least felt as though there was some meat to Mathilde's tale.
I had such high hopes for this one but ended up feeling cheated, I'm sorry to say.