Fates and Furies; Lauren Groff
Riverbed Books - Penguin Audio - 2015
Will Damron and Julia Whelan (narrators)
Lotto (Lancelot Satterwhite) and Mathilde were that couple everyone envied: looks, brains, confidence and sophistication. They met at Vassar when they were just 22 and married just a few weeks later. Lotto was born into a wealthy family but, his father's early death left his mother unable to cope and battled mental illness for years to come. Mathilde an aspiring model, was attractive, quiet and reserved and supportive wife. Lotto was loud, welcoming and sexy. His interest was acting but, suffered from episodes of manic depression. His true calling came later as a playwright.
The story is told in two parts - FATES (Lotto's story of their marriage) moved slowly at times for me but, the multiple thread and beautiful writing was so good that I looked forward to turning the pages. I liked getting to see the couple through the highs and lows of their relationship as well as through the eyes of their friends. Lotto was a unlikable character but, a man who loved his wife deeply. As I read I wondered how much Mathilde knew about his past.
FURIES (Mathilde's story) totally caught me off guard. It's true what they say to watch out for the quiet ones. Mathilde had a sad dark childhood. She comes across as loving Lotto but, that love seemed to have a dark, sadistic side and at times she's filled with anger and rage. At times I couldn't believe just how different her story of their marriage was from the one we heard from Lotto.
I loved the structure of this novel and couldn't help thinking about what a fantastic choice this would be for bookclub discussions. If you enjoy beautiful writing, flawed, complex characters and stories about marriage don't miss this one. This is one I'll be thinking about for a long while.
(audio & eBook)