March 03

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Who’d have thought Barak Obama’s favourite book of 2015 would start with a sex scene?   I’m talking about a green bikini, sand dunes and a couple of newlyweds – literally first page.

Beyond the beach, Fates and Furies is contemporary literature at its best with language that is original, multi-layered and downright clever. Add characters that are strong, sexy and also multi-layered and this book will get under your skin like it got under mine.

On the surface, Fates and Furies is the story of Lotto and Mathilde and their 24 year marriage.  Lotto is the golden one (tall, charismatic, adored by all) and Mathilde is the stabilising force he can’t live without. From the minute they met, nothing could penetrate their union.

The truth is however, the book is not about Lotto and Mathilde at all. It’s about storytelling and the power of perspective….well at least that’s my perspective on it.

Written in two parts, Fates and Furies has an almost a Shakespearean tone to me where author Lauren Groff (also known for best selling novel Arcadia) tries to trick readers into investing in the narrative in the first part only to make the bigger point about the power of perspective in the second.

Putting my literary hypothesis aside, this book is worth reading for the language alone.  If I were a writer I would want to write like Lauren Groff and if I were an English teacher I would want my students to spend an entire term studying her use of metaphors. She is a genius.

Now I know I’ve rattled on about this one and yes I truly loved it but its still not going on all time greats list.  The plot got a little crazy for me at the end and the characters just got a little bit too twisted for my liking. Let’s just say they developed a touch of the “gone girls”.

My advice would be to just enjoy the text (and the sub-text) and you will soon see why Barak Obama and so many others loved this book..and not just for the sex scenes.

And that’s just my 2 cents worth.