Fates and Furies

Originally published January 2016

We all—or at least the most of us—have stories no one else knows.

In the case of Lotto and Mathilde, the stories run deep and dark.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is tragic and wonderful and if you are a sucker for love stories, could leave you with a deep sense of longing. I hesitate to delve too far into the psyche of the main characters, lest I ruin them for each reader’s own discovery—especially as you hit the second half of the novel. For sure, it is a story that’ll stick to your brain for awhile.

Lotto, son of a mermaid and a bottled water magnate is exiled from the South to the North as a teen when his mother tries to control destiny vis a vis boarding school. And it’s in the latter days of his college years he meets Mathilde, a young woman tagged with an icy reputation no one has yet to been able to break through. The attraction is both mutual and all-consuming, and leads to a marriage that is steadfast if not always perfect.

That said, there’s a large wake of despair and destruction left behind these two, and it’s over the course of their relationship that ghosts from the past make their way into the present, with often disastrous consequences. Mathilde is just … so … damaged. And Lotto? Maybe a little repressed.

If you’ve been married a while, there are certain themes that may resonate—disappointment, maybe, forgiveness, for sure. Have you ever questioned your partner’s path? Intentions? Or have you been so certain in your love and your partner’s for you that even when it seems one person in the relationship is adrift, you remain confident all will return to normal?

Are you driven by revenge? Inner demons? Complete self-loathing? (Geez, I hope not.) The characters that make this story so engrossing do so because they’re all too real. I don’t know if any of them are able to forgive themselves, but the various acts of reconciliation make a strong case for love conquering all.

Highly recommend this for anyone’s bucket list—it was a favorite of many critics and featured on a bunch of “Best of 2015” lists and would have made mine had I read it sooner. Don’t wait as long as I did.

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