Review: Fates and Furies

Fates and Furies

Fates and Furies
By Lauren Groff
Riverhead Books, Hardcover, 9781594634475, September 2015, 400pp.

The Short of It:

Imperfect people joined together in marriage makes for some entertaining reading.

The Rest of It:

Lancelot is this gorgeous, Greek god of a guy. He marries his female equivalent, Mathilde and the two, although quite young, throw caution to the wind and create a happy marriage for themselves.

Or, do they?

This book has gotten a lot of attention! Mainly, due to President Obama naming it his favorite book of 2015.  But even without that endorsement, I can see why this book became popular with readers.

  • It’s well-written
  • Has a somewhat complex story structure to wrap your brain around
  • It has a lot of gratuitous sex
  • It contains Greek mythology references
  • It’s a page-turner
  • Flawed characters galore
  • It has a lot of gratuitous sex (oh, did I already say that?)

I don’t think the book has been optioned for a movie yet, but I can absolutely see that happening. The story is twisty and a bit deceptive and a little dark without being too dark. As a movie, I think it could be quite good.

My book club read and discussed it last week and there was a lot to discuss. Yeah, the sex came up quite a bit but the really big question we all had:

What makes a good marriage good?

Do love and trust come into it? Is it a good marriage if the end result is somewhat shallow in nature as long as both parties are happy with the end result?

We also spent a lot of time talking about the narrative structure. The story is told in two halves, one being Fates and the other being Furies.  As interesting as these halves were, some members of the group felt manipulated by this structure.

Overall, I found it to be a fun book to discuss but a bit tedious with all the sex scenes. Well-written, but a little slow in the middle because of the repetitive nature of some of the content but overall, very entertaining.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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22 thoughts on “Review: Fates and Furies”

  1. We are having Lauren Groff appear with Elaine Newton on the stage in January. I will be having lunch with them both beforehand. I have lots of questions about this book. Should be a really entertaining discussion. And, yes, then there’s the sex…

  2. I started reading it, but then put it down. Just couldn’t get into it. From what you’ve written I can see why people enjoyed it, but I just don’t think its for me. Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like your book club had a good discussion about it 🙂

    1. I WAS curious as to what Obama found so fascinating but he really didn’t say when he named it as one of his faves. There is a lot of deception going on. That part was interesting. These characters seemed like creatures to me. This is not your cup of tea.

  3. I haven’t read anything by Groff and I don’t know if this is the one I should start with. Sounds fascinating and I love the idea of its complex story. But not a fan of too much sex in books. I am VERY curious now about what Obama saw in this.

  4. I definitely need to read this author, but am not sure whether this is the place to start… especially since Monsters of Templeton has been on my shelf for years and is set in a nearby town.

    1. ​My book club said Arcadia was a good one to start with but I never read that one when the club read it because my Kindle version was corrupted so I can’t compare. ​

    1. I looked all over to find out why Obama liked it so much and all I could find was that he liked that it depicted the complexity of marriage. It did that, but I don’t many men that enjoyed this one.

  5. Ha! You know, I’ve read a ton about this book and I believe you are the first to mention there being sex scenes at all. Like, how many are we talking about? Like three? I’m just surprised because it’s on the rare side for Lit’rary Fiction to have actual sex scenes. Usually they fade to black or at most include a few lines about it (not a scene so much as a recap :p).

  6. It’s been in my TBR pile for some months now. Was a little afraid to start it – your review makes me think it will be one of the next books that I pick up.

  7. I am just now listening to Groff’s novel as an audiobook. But I’m in the first part so I will refrain by commenting till I finish it. I didn’t realize it was Obama’s favorite book last year. Oh my. I hope that doesn’t mean his marriage is in trouble … or has been. Marriage indeed has many complexities to it. I agree.

    1. I thought the same thing about his marriage but all he said was that he liked the complexity of the marriage. Whatever that means.

      Yes, buzz me when you finish it.

  8. I really, really, really like your review. I’ve read others that have made me interested in reading the novel but lacked something. Yours makes me feel like I know what to expect without knowing any details. I love the questions your book club raised about the definition of a good marriage. I now want to move this up in my queue just so I can weigh in on the discussion!

    1. Oh. It’s definitely worthy of a read. Not as twisty and ridiculous as Gone Girl but there is a little bit of deception. Enough to keep you reading. And the whole marriage question is interesting. And Obama chose it as his fave book last year. Interesting.

  9. I just finished it as well. Funny, I listened to the audiobook, and I must say I didn’t really think there was a lot of gratuitous sex. I mean there was sex, but I think it served a purpose & belonged there. It was one of dramatic devices the author used at times to make a point, but also to add an extra dimension to the characters – at least, that’s how I felt it. The structure was clever as heck – personally, I didn’t feel cheated, more like gobsmacked!! 😀 Altogether an interesting story with a unique (if totally unrealistic) cast of characters. A movie will follow for sure!

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