December 11, 2015 Fates and Furies
Fates and Furies is a novel by Lauren Groff. It has become a bestseller since its release in September of this year. The reviews have been mixed. Groff is a talented writer, but Fates and Furies is flawed. The novel is, on the surface, about two points of view of the same marriage. One of the complaints is that it treads much of the same ground as Gone Girl. Groff claims that her ideas and drafts came earlier than the publication of Gone Girl in 2012.
Fates and Furies does center on two people who never really knew each other. It does have that in common with Gone Girl. Lancelot or Lotto and Mathilde meet and marry quickly. They graduate from Vassar and embark on a new life together in New York City.
The first part of the novel focuses on Lotto. His view is poetic and happy for the most part. He couldn’t love his wife more. She supports him and is the wind beneath his wings. However, the sweet devoted wife is an illusion. Lotto is lucky in many ways, but he never bothered to dig any deeper. He was content with Mathilde’s deception. He didn’t want to know her secrets.
Mathilde didn’t want him to know her secrets either. Unlike Amy Dunne, Mathilde doesn’t create cover story. No, Mathilde simply never speaks of it. She comes to Lotto tabula rasa.
What she doesn’t tell him is that 4 years old she was responsible for her brother’s death and her parents abandoned her for it. Little Aurelie eventually is shipped from France to America to live with her uncle, who his largely indifferent to his ward. No, her uncle is busy being a crime lord. In college, Mathilde loses her virginity to a man like Christian Grey.
Lancelot was her knight in shining armor. He rescued her from her dark and lonely existence. But she was not his Gwen. No, his Gwen—his true love—gave up their illegitimate son before killing herself.
Later, after Lotto dies, Mathilde finds herself involved with that same illegitimate son—Land. Though Lotto wanted children, Mathilde was determined to remain childless. Afraid any child she might have would be as dark and twisted as she was, Mathilde got an abortion and then was sterilized. When she didn’t get pregnant or bare him a child, Lotto never asked why. He simply never knew her inability to get pregnant was her own choosing.
Fates and Furies is a mixture of Gone Girl, 50 Shades of Grey and the Secret Garden. Not to mention CSI with their Miniature Killer and A History of Violence. It is not new. Groff’s novel doesn’t not succeed entirely, but she is gifted with language. I liked the subtext of the Greek Fates and the Greek Furies. If only she’d tied the book more to Greek Literature instead of trying to be a modern literary star. Lotto’s plays are incredibly boring. It is difficult to understand why he became famous. But then again, 50 Shades of Grey made EL James famous and Twilight made Stephanie Meyer famous. Talent isn’t half as important as marketing it seems.