“Great swaths of her life were white space to her husband. What she did not tell him balanced neatly with what she did. Still, there are untruths made of words and untruths made of silences, and Mathilde had only ever lied to Lotto in what she never said..”
Barack Obama made an intriguing and unexpected announcement when he told People magazine he liked Fates and Furies more than anything else he’d read in 2015. He wasn't the only one with a passion for Lauren Groff's bestseller. Fates and Furies is about much more than the summary on the book jacket–the two points of view in a marriage. It’s about love, revenge, and the deeper impact of our most intimate relationships. And let’s not mistake Fates and Furies for that other book about two sides of a marriage, Gone Girl, which was commercial, not literary, fiction at its finest. Gone Girl is a thriller; Fates and Furies is literary art.
The novel, told as a split narrative, tells the story of Lotto and Mathilde Satterwhite. He is the darling of a prosperous Florida family. She is the survivor of a past about which her husband has only the fuzziest idea beyond it being sad and dark. The first half of the book offers Lotto’s view of their life together as he rises from charming but failed actor to celebrated playwright, thanks in no small part to Mathilde’s editorial finesse. The second half reveals that Mathilde has, through implacable willpower, transcended circumstances that read like a hotchpotch of Greek tragedy, fable and detective novel. Much of what Lotto takes for granted in his good fortune, it turns out, is due to Mathilde’s ruthless machination, right down to their marriage itself.
To what extent do early experiences shape character and life events? What really constitutes a good fortune? Can we can truly understand our own life or the life of someone close to us?
Island Book's open book club meets the last Thursday of every month at 7:30pm. Our staff facilitator chooses both fiction and nonfiction titles. All are welcome to attend, and if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.