Lotto and Mathilde are like every young, married couple–living cheaply, struggling just to make ends meet. Just out of college, they decide to marry after two weeks of knowing each other. Even though all their friends and family believe it will never last, somehow, it does. Told through dual perspectives, we get Lotto’s side of the story first. We learn Lotto comes from money, but is disinherited after marrying Mathilde. We learn about his family and upbringing. And towards the end of his life, secrets began to unravel about Mathilde. In Mathilde’s perspective, she does all she can to support her husband, working hard and taking care of their small apartment, while Lotto figures out his life as an actor. As time and their relationship goes on, we start to see their relationship in a new light. What secrets could be lurking behind their marriage?
I liked the premise of Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. There was the mystery behind Lotto and Mathilde’s relationship–how did two young 22-year-olds, who only knew each other for two weeks, make a relationship work as well as they do?–but ultimately, I found the plot lacking in excitement. F&F is compared to the likes of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, but I believe that’s a weak comparison. There is no spark in this novel, no moment of, “Holy sh*t!” where the readers realize something vital they’ve been missing the whole time. And even though a secret does reveal itself at the end, it comes a little too late in the story. I never found myself wondering about the credibility of the characters. I didn’t particularly like either Mathilde or Lotto. I was annoyed by Mathilde’s lying. I was annoyed by Lotto’s lazy attitude. I was annoyed throughout the entire novel–not angry, or shocked, or upset–just annoyed. With so many ways this story could have played out, I would have liked something with a little more mystery, a little more oomph to it.