“Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.”
― Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
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 case, her elegant prose is why I am giving the book an extra star. sadly, that is where the positives end for me.
I absolutely loathed the characters! And if you've read other reviews by me, you'll know that I can forgive a weak plot if the I can connect with the characters, but cannot enjoy a weak plot and unlikable, cold characters. It is strange that I should view them as such, since the book is meant as a portrait of their inner lives and marriage, but to me, they never warmed up and certainly never felt very real, not in their thoughts or their behavior. I cannot say which portion I disliked more, Lotto's or Mathilde's narration, because both were almost equally blah for me. I felt a perpetual detachment to them, which made the story really drag on. Having read so much good about this book, I really hoped there would be something wonderful just coming up, so I kept reading, but it never came.
The title and description of the book also made me think that there would be enjoyable links to classical literature and mythology, but the links that were there felt forced and a frankly too showy for my taste. Fates and Furies did not read like a Greek tragedy (certainly not a comedy either) and in the end I just wanted the Furies to sweep in and put and end to the tedium.
I hate to write a negative review, but the fact that Obama said this was his favorite book of the year should dampen the sting of any less than glowing review.