If you pay attention to prize winners, you’ll probably already know that Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is the toast of the literary town. It’s been shortlisted for oodles of impressive awards. If you DON’T pay attention to literary awards, you probably thoughts that a book called Fates and Furies was the latest young adult fad somehow tied in with Greek mythology. Alright, there’s a distinct possibility that I was the only person who came to that conclusion, but we already know that I am the worst at these things.
Suffice it to say that Fates and Furies is NOT a young adult novel related to Greek mythology, but literary fiction of the highest degree. It centers on the 24 year marriage of Lotto and Mathilde, married at the age of 22 caught up in a whirlwind romance.
I don’t typically get along well with award winning literary fiction. In fact, my notes while listening to the first half of the book (audio books, FTW!) include phrases like “I am not smart enough for this” and “this book is so depressing” and “for a book this full of sex, it’s not even remotely sexy” and “the main characters are dancing to Radiohead. Fitting. I feel the same way about Radiohead that I feel about this book.” The first half of the book told Lotto’s story and, for me, it was less than thrilling. I very nearly threw in the towel but stuck with it because I am extremely stubborn and it had gotten to a hate read point. I wasn’t going to let the book win!
Then Mathilde’s story started and I was captivated. The second half of the book flew by. Obviously, it couldn’t have stood on its own, part of the reason it was so fascinating was the way in which it dovetailed with the first half, but it was like night and day for my personal enjoyment. My feelings are all twisted up.
Would I recommend you read Fates and Furies? It all depends. If you typically enjoy the type of literary fiction that typically takes home awards, by all means. If you’re into beautiful prose and aren’t bothered by gray story lines, then YES. Read this! If you read purely for enjoyment, escapism, and amusing storytelling? Maaaaaaaaaybe skip this one.
Talk to me, Bookworms. Have you ever finished a book purely out of spite and found yourself pleasantly surprised?
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