My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Can I just say something about modern book covers before diving into this review? A brilliant and beautifully designed minimalist cover which appeals to my innermost desires of design concept will almost always yield a terrible storyline inside. But, thank God, Fates and Furies isn’t a part of that. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ will be a saying that never leaves me because time after time it has sadly proven to be true.
I came in with high hopes to Groff’s latest novel, recommended by several friends, and was initially so disappointed I almost stopped at page 60. Thankfully, I followed my gut and the story picked up enough for me to finally get into it.
I flip-flopped between issuing F+F a 3 or 4 for a long time, and here’s why: I would be reading for a long time and become so involved at some points I wouldn’t realize I hadn’t looked up in 30 minutes, and then I would stop abruptly at a poor decision on Groff’s part and wish someone had told her to scratch and revise. So, my love for this book went up and down like a cardiac rhythm strip.
Despite my initial dissatisfaction, I grew to love Groff’s descriptive and fragmented writing style. It is both beautiful and mesmerizing; the type of writing you could really lose yourself in. “She stood only when she could no longer recognize his body, like a word repeated until it has lost all meaning” (295).
At first her characterization annoyed me. Though she absolutely nails the way inspiration feels and fuels an artist, her Lotto is not likable to me. Lotto and Mathilde’s relationship never makes sense to me, and until reading from Mathilde’s perspective, I felt sorry for her. I felt even worse for her after hearing about her childhood, and despite Lotto having a hard time, I never found myself worried for him. He’s too egotistical to be amiable.
One thing I learned from their relationship was that our perceptions of loved ones is entirely different from anyone else’s. Only the two people in the relationship can understand why one still loves the other despite all of their flaws. And although others can sometimes feel the magnetism between the two, no one else will ever truly feel the deep and automatic love they share. Love is unexplainable almost all of the time and rarely makes sense to outsiders.
Revenge, on the other hand, is easy to comprehend. Whether rage-induced or calm and calculated, revenge is easy to explain. The ‘why’ usually makes sense. Groff’s story of love and revenge mirrors the savage plots of Shakespeare, who her Lotto loved, extremely well. Hidden beneath her pretty words and poetic description, I never expected any surprises in her plot, but there they were waiting at the end of the book.
If you are not patient, don’t pick up this book, but if you can calmly wait for a subtle surprise and appreciate craftiness, then I encourage you to give it a go.
Goodreads Rating: 3.56
Recommended for: Logophiles, Lovers, & the Theatric
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