by Lauren Groff (William Heinemann) ISBN 9781785150159
This is the story of Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage. It is an elaborately, deliberately written book about how partners in marriage can only know ‘the other’ they are permitted to see. We cannot experience their past lives, and even what we are told is skewed by memory and perspective.
Fates, the first part of the book is told through Lotto’s eyes. Furies, through Mathilde’s.
Lotto and Mathilde are both breathtakingly, strikingly beautiful. Larger than life, their marriage is envied and their devotion to each other never questioned. But both are fundamentally damaged by childhood tragedies – some mentioned, others hidden. We follow their story as the couple grow together over two decades.
It took me more than a month to fully commit to the book because of the pretentious literary theatrics employed by Groff. It takes strength to plough through the omniscient narrator asides, the story within story outlining of Lotto’s plays, and the sheer excess of literary and mythological references. It was exhausting at times.