My book club met over the weekend to discuss Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff which I've held off reviewing so as not to give away any spoilers to those in our group who might not have read it beforehand. The premise of this book intrigued me as it was described as the story of a marriage told in two perspectives, that of the husband and that of the wife.
We start off with the story of Lotto (Lancelot), how his family marked him for great destiny simply by saying it out loud. Having been told nothing but this all his life, Lotto believes this to be his truth and floats through his youth as if he is the chosen one. Although briefly bereft after being sent away to boarding school his talent is discovered in acting and thus his notority has begun. His display of behavior is over confident and over indulgent especially in promiscuousness, until he meets Mathilde. Lotto realizes there is one thing missing from his life and that is love and nurturing and exactly what Mathilde is ready to give.They marry immediately after graduation. As they bask in the glow of love their marriage is difficult. Mathilde manages Lotto's sporadic acting career until he finds his glory again as a playwright.
Now, we come to the second part of the book and the flipside of the relationship. Mathilde's side, so very different, so very eye opening. I was both blindsided and riveted as her story unfolded. After a childhood tragedy her life was never the same. Without a stable home and parental love her life was lonely and desperate which ultimately resulted in resentment. Mathilde is patient and shrewd as she astutely avenges those who have have been adversaries in her life. One might question which was truly the better actor, the husband or the wife?
This was a most lively and candid discussion for our book club and we joked that the first half of the book was very Fifty Shades of Grey if you will and the second half had a feel of Gone Girl For myself the first part was a bit tedious reading through the repetitive explicit scenes but definitely worth the entire read. I was completely captivated by Mathilde's account, but then I'm always fascinated by a good revenge story. I found it highly entertaining.
How I acquired this book: Christmas gift from my son.
Shelf life: Two weeks.