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Fates and Furies

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  119,995 ratings  ·  14,090 reviews
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love,
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  119,995 ratings  ·  14,090 reviews

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Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction, arc
This book was a HUGE disappointment. I mean, holy purple prose, Batman! I really loved Lauren Groff’s writing in Arcadia - it was beautiful and touching, with gorgeous metaphors. But Fates and Furies is pretentious and overwritten. It tries so hard to be a literary masterpiece that you end up with asides like this one:

Her mother had smelled of cold and scales, her father of stone dust and dog. She imagined her husband’s mother, whom she had never met, had a whiff of rotting apples, although h
Emily May
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: modern-lit, 2016
Between his skin and hers, there was the smallest of spaces, barely enough for air, for this slick of sweat now chilling. Even still, a third person, their marriage, had slid in.

This book is beautifully-written. I can't deny that and I won't try, which is why it gets an extra star. Fates and Furies is everyday poetry for those looking to turn the mundane into a meditation on the beauty of words and the power of metaphor. But when it comes to plot, characters and emotion, it leaves something
Oct 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Two word review: pretentious garbage.

My apologies to the author, Lauren Groff, for being so harsh, but this novel is terrible.

Is Fates and Furies the worst novel I’ve read in 2015? We still have almost 3 full months remaining, but I have no doubt it will at least be in the top 3 worst reads of the year. I hated this novel. I only finished reading (hate-reading, actually) so I could have an outlet for my anger and disappointment: namely, writing a review of this novel.

Reading the description that
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
Gone Girl with slightly nicer people...

but it's Gone Girl only at its most elemental. it's the story of the marriage of two beautiful people; a marriage whose sparkling perfection and longevity is the envy of all. but no one knows what happens in a marriage behind closed doors. sometimes, not even its participants.

this is the story of the moving parts that keep a marriage going; the sacrifices and the machinations under the smooth facade. it's about how much work it takes to make it look effort
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

Chicago commercial photographers

I hate this book. There I said it. I keep trying to read it and then I look down and it says I still have soooo much time left in this book. I'm never going to finish.

The only character that I'm somewhat interested in is Chollie. The rest of them are just pretentious hipster assholes.

I'm a dnf'er. And I'm proud.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review

Chicago commercial photographers

I'm probably totally missing out by not making myself finish this book. (I'm still not gonna do it) but my friend Leanne
Amazingly brilliant. Language to die for. Fascinating characters. Clever format. But why did it take me three weeks to read?

This is a complex love story, full of secrets and regrets and passion. Part 1, Fates, is the husband’s story. Part 2, Furies, is the wife’s. It is absolutely brilliant.

Yeah, so why DID it take me so long to read this? Take a peek at my Complaint Board:

Complaint Board

Who ARE these guys in the twist? At the end, I got to a brilliant twist! I knew it was brilliant, but wait…..
No amount of beautiful language can gild this piece of shit.
May 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I'm approaching my 1/3rd rule with this book (if a book hasn't grabbed me by 1/3rd of the way in it's not worth continuing with it) and the urge to hurl it out the window is proving irresistible. It's not often I say I hate a book, but I absolutely hate this, and yes, I realise I'm sticking my neck out, and I'll more than likely be in the minority, but c'est la vie. I cannot join the herd and say I like something when I don't

This is a long, drawn out story about Lotto (short for Lancelot) and hi
Elyse  Walters
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 Stars
I have a mixed feelings toward this novel.
On the positive note... I was interested in the story about the married couple. I think this book is an excellent commentary on marriage.... what makes it work... and what makes it fail.

The author captures each character's individuality.... while at the same time invites us
to experience the intimacy of this marriage. I like much on this story-- yet.. I'm aware I was often 'detached'. This was not a book for me- that kept me turning pages wit
Amalia Gkavea
''There was an enormous crack in the world.''

What constitutes a successful union between two people who love each other? The ability to have the courage to mend the cracks that appear in an alarming speed as the years go by. Now, in the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde, the cracks are there from the beginning. Especially in Lotto and all they have to do is to ignore them and move on. But Groff's novel is completely devoid of cracks or any other fault for that matter. In fact, it is plain and s
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Wow! I started reading Fates and Furies a few times and my interest quickly waned because the writing felt impenetrable. But this time I forced myself to read beyond the first few pages, and after sticking it out for a while I got completely sucked in -- by the writing, the concept, the atmosphere and the story. Groff's writing is unusual, both in style and in pacing. Her sentences feel messy and there's an arrhythmic staccato to the way in which the story moves forward. But once I fell in step ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
The characters in this novel are despicable, spiteful and plain unlikeable. However, that being said, Fates & Furies was a phenomenal read.
This is the love story of Lotto and Mathilde. The Fates: The building up of a 20 year marriage. The Furies: The delayering of it. From perfection to perfectly flawed characters stripped of their stories living in their own play. The final act: A death reveals a truth. This is a backwards, upside down spiral of a story that will require the reader to piece it
Ron Charles
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Even from her impossibly high starting point, Lauren Groff just keeps getting better and better. Her debut novel, “The Monsters of Templeton” (2008); her stirring story collection, “Delicate Edible Birds”; and my favorite book of 2012, “Arcadia ” — all demonstrated her exquisite style and tough, heart-breaking compassion. But her new novel, “Fates and Furies,” is a clear-the-ground triumph. Spanning decades, oceans and the whole economic scale from indigence to opulence, this novel holds within ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The miracle of this ravishing novel is that it takes such well-worn subjects as marriage and the career of a writer and makes them utterly fresh and compelling because of Groff’s dazzling prose and the ingeniously revisionist structure of the book.

The underlying premise here is that it’s much more difficult for a wife to sustain a happy marriage than it is for a husband. A generalisation of course. But a generalisation that was probably 90% true until this century and is probably still about 60
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
The trouble I have with contemporary literary fiction is that I’m still primed to expect it to be more than it is. Like most newer books I’ve read lately, this is an engaging series of improbable events happening to gorgeous people, which elucidates no serious truths about the world around me. There’s nothing wrong with that and I enjoyed reading it, but I feel a lingering pressure to feel more.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars - I didn't like it.

This could be the first addition to a new genre, literary erotica(lite). If that makes you excited or more interested to read it, don't set yourself up for disappointment. The moral of the review is that if you write about sex for almost 300 pages (75% of the book) and still end up with a monotonous, tedious, unprovocative novel, then something has going disastrously wrong.

The author "tells" you that the couple have this epic, out of this world love for one another,
Violet wells
The only award I'd bestow on this is the most unconvincing portrait of a literary genius ever written. Lancelot Satterwhite (his father's name is Gawain though we're missing Merlin) is the character in question. As his name would suggest he's a buffoonish knight in expensive armour. He makes two life-changing transformations - firstly, he changes from a womaniser into a model husband overnight; then he changes from a third rate actor into a first rate playwright literally overnight. The suspensi ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Paean to Marriage, Mythology and Theatre
"Marriage is made of lies; kind ones, mostly. Omissions. If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you'd crush them to paste. She never lied, just never said."
The difficulty in reviewing this novel is avoiding disclosure of too much of the plot or structure. That, and the fact that I have found that many of my Goodreads friends in whom I place a good deal of trust on taste in books bungled the ball on this novel. I still have l
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
“It occurred to her then that life was conical in shape, the past broadening beyond the sharp point of the lived moment. The more life you had, the more the base expanded, so that the wounds and treasons that were nearly imperceptible when they happened stretched like tiny dots on a balloon slowly blown up. A speck on the slender child grows into a gross deformity in the adult, inescapable, ragged at the edges.”

I think that quote sums this book up pretty well. It's a book about perspective—and p
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! It kind of reminded me of "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn because it deals with the fact that there are two sides to every story, but at the same time it was completely different from that one.
"Fates and Furies" is a story told from two perspectives: Lotto's and Mathilde's who are secretly married when they are 22. We then follow them in their marriage as they grow up, and we get to read about all their insecurities and their strength in each other.
I think this book was bri
Brown Girl Reading
The only reason why I gave this book 2 stars was because of the beautiful writing. However the stereotypical main characters, pretentious sentences that don't really mean anything, dry storyline, and forgettable characters almost left me in a reading slump. I was really disappointed with this one because I expected so much more from it (National Book Award and Pulitzer nominations) but once again I was a victim of book hype. ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 silence, and Mathilde had only ever life to Lotto in what she never said."

As a literary construct, Fates and Furies is a mannered edifice of spun sugar, gorgeous and brittle. As a story, it splits open the melon of marriage to show the overripe flesh inside and a core that is on the verge of rotting. I can smell it
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Even from her impossibly high starting point, Lauren Groff just keeps getting better and better. Her debut novel, “The Monsters of Templeton” (2008); her stirring story collection, “Delicate Edible Birds” (2010); and my favorite book of 2012, “Arcadia ” — all demonstrated her exquisite style and tough, heartbreaking compassion. But her new novel, “Fates and Furies,” is a clear-the-ground triumph. Spanning decades, oceans and the whole economic scale from indigence to opulence, this novel holds ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I am not ashamed to say that this book surprised me. I had read one previous novel by Groff and felt rather ambivalent about it (Arcadia) but she is one friend's favorite author and then the book was a finalist for the National Book Award - the fates would have been furious had I not given it a try. Har har.

I am also a bit of a sucker for a well written novel about marriage, a real look at marriage, the hard parts, the hidden parts, the mistakes, the journey. This is about that for sure. Everyt
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The tale is so beautifully crafted, with the climax occurring right dab in the middle of it--both an innovation and a feat. Getting both parts of the marriage is a privilege we are afforded as readers. And what a magnificent telling of it! L. Groff is a master of prose, of feeling. We see these demigods suffer & wade through a magnificent wave of contemporary life. I guess I may sense a disconnect between these American beauties and myself. Both of our lovers have homes that shun them, and this ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
My sincere thanks to Netgalley and Riverhead Books for providing this e-galley due to be published September 15, 2015.

3.5 rounded up to 4 as I am of a positive nature...

The Hook - The promise of an exhilarating read about relationships and marriage.

The Line The publisher requests that this e-galley not be quoted. The line I really liked has to do with committing the embodiment of someone to perpetuity.

The Sinker – Do not expect a quick read where everything is as it seems. Expect to take a bi
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: litmus-test
For readers who love the theatre, have studied Greek classics and mythologies, who know which luminaries won Tony Awards this year, who titillate at hints of illicit acts of homosexuality by straights, or know the works of Shakespeare intimately, go ahead and follow the accolades. Read. Enjoy. I respect you literary art lovers but am not one of you.

This double set of stories, one apiece about the man and wife, going from childhood through their mid 40s, seemingly took forever for me to get throu
reading is my hustle
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-domestic
Lauren Groff can write. She is a bit of a show-off even. I like that. Also, I am exhausted. This is quite the ride.

Let's see. Since there has been SO much buzz surrounding this one and many good reviews I think I will just throw some thoughts out there. Stylistically this is gorgeous. The writing is abrupt. Sometimes it is confusing. Parts of the story are a bit pat. Doesn't matter. Quibbles.

I think I will explain it to patrons as a thinking person's Gone Girl. I do not mean that in an arrogan
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
With this book, I just wanted to be like everyone else and love it, unfortunately I'm going to have to admit to being that sore thumb and stick out of the crowd of raves. I'm afraid this book just wasn't for me at all. Though Groff undeniably possesses a gift for language, I wonder whether she is not, perhaps better suited to poetry. Sometimes her flowery prose felt over-the-top, as though she was trying to fit in some poetic turn of phrase which didn't fit the scene, and it felt jarring. In any ...more
Wonderful, absorbing, epic story of two people, their tragic life stories, and their marriage. You have to ease into it a little - I found the plot immediately engaging but the prose is a bit flowery and impenetrable at times. As you read on, though, you sink into the story and the lush description and almost dreamy tone fits perfectly.

I love stories of different perspectives, and Lauren Groff pulls this writing device off almost flawlessly - Lotto's story comes first ("Fates") and is followed b
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Lauren Groff was born in Cooperstown, N.Y. and grew up one block from the Baseball Hall of Fame. She graduated from Amherst College and has an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Hobart, and Five Points as well as in the anthologies Best Amer

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58 likes · 19 comments
“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.” 68 likes
“Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.” 65 likes
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