FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff
Kirkus Star

FATES AND FURIES

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An absorbing story of a modern marriage framed in Greek mythology.

Groff’s sharply drawn portrait of a marriage begins on a cold Maine beach, with newlyweds “on their knees, now, though the sand was rough and hurt. It didn’t matter. They were reduced to mouths and hands.” This opener ushers in an ambitious, knowing novel besotted with sex—in a kaleidoscope of variety—much more abundant than the commune-dwellers got up to in Groff’s luminous Arcadia (2012). The story centers first on Lancelot “Lotto” Satterwhite, a dashing actor at Vassar, who marries his classmate, flounders, then becomes a famous playwright. Lotto’s name evokes the lottery—and the Fates, as his half of the book is titled. His wife, the imperial and striking Mathilde, takes over the second section, Furies, astir with grief and revenge. The plotting is exquisite, and the sentences hum; Groff writes with a pleasurable, bantering vividness. Her book is smart, albeit with an occasional vibrato of overkill. The author gives this novel a harder edge and darker glow than previous work, echoing Mathilde’s observation, “She was so tired of the old way of telling stories, all those too worn narrative paths, the familiar plot thickets, the fat social novels. She needed something messier, something sharper, something like a bomb going off.” Indeed it is.

An intricate plot, perfect title, and a harrowing look at the tie that binds.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-59463-447-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2015




THE 18 FINALISTS FOR THE 2015 KIRKUS PRIZE:

FictionTHE INCARNATIONS by Susan Barker
by Susan Barker
FictionA MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN by Lucia Berlin
by Lucia Berlin
FictionFATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff
by Lauren Groff
FictionTHE STORY OF MY TEETH by Valeria Luiselli
by Valeria Luiselli

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for JACKIE'S GIRL
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for MEN WITHOUT WOMEN
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for DEMOCRACY
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for A DOG'S WAY HOME
VERDICT:
SKIP IT

MORE BY LAUREN GROFF

FictionDELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS by Lauren Groff
by Lauren Groff
FictionTHE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON by Lauren Groff
by Lauren Groff

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionSOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS by Helen Phillips
by Helen Phillips
FictionSWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell
by Karen Russell
FictionTIES by Domenico Starnone
by Domenico Starnone