Summary of Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff | Summary & Analysis by aBookaDayWarning: This is an independent addition to Fates and Furies, meant to enhance your experience of the original book. If you have not yet bought the original copy, make sure to purchase it before buying this unofficial summary from aBookaDay.
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Fates and Furies is not a story about a marriage – it is a story about two people and how their marriage determines the trajectory of their lives. Lotto – short for Lancelot - and Mathilde seem like the perfect dream team when they first elope in their final year of college. Lotto is the tall and charismatic pack leader, who plans to pursue a career on the stage. Mathilde is a tall, blonde scholarship student. Theirs is a love story that inspires jealousy from all who know them.
But as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Lotto and Mathilde have two very different perspectives of a shared life – and some of the secrets they hide from each other could have explosive consequences. Piece by piece, truth is revealed, and there is plenty of romance, intrigue and heartbreak to fill several marriages.
This is an ambitious and dynamic novel, and Groff executes exquisite prose. Lotto and Mathilde are protagonists who will not be soon forgotten.
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Puzzled by Fates & Furies
The first section Fates was a 2 or 3 star slog, but the second section Furies is unquestionably a 5 star read. They handed over spider plants in terra-cotta, six-packs, books, bottles of wine. Hurricanes of entitlement, all swirl and noise and destruction, nothing at their centers. Up before Lotto rose a vision of himself as if attached to a hundred shining strings by his fingers, eyelids, toes, the muscles of his mouth. See I love that you spelled out all the good and all the bad for you. I suspect that I miss out on some that way, but honestly, there are so many books I want to sample.
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Lotto short for Lancelot and Mathilde meet at a party, near the end of their time as Vassar undergraduates. The attraction is intense, and they get quickly married, just before graduation. Mathilde is mysterious. She seems to have no legible past, no obvious context. This is a characteristically patriarchal gesture: Mathilde seems to ask for little, and subsumes whatever desire for a career she may have had to his larger claims.
Hated it. Ugh, barf. It seems the people who award these things have a penchant for beautifully written, puzzling, frustrating stories where not a lot actually happens. We see his early beginnings in Florida, his banishment from the family, his golden-boy days of boarding school and college, how he struggles outside the warm confines of college, and then his slow rise to fame and fortune as a renowned playwright. She never tells Lotto any of this, or the fact that she traded sex for tuition from a wealthy art dealer all through college.
Lotto and Mathilde first meet in college. Following the death of their father, Lotto and his little sister Rachel are raised by their mother, Antoinette, and by their paternal aunt, Sallie. Mathilde is raised by her uncle in America after her parents abandon her following an accident where, at four years old, she opened a door to allow her toddler brother to leave the bedroom he was napping in, only to fall down the stairs, break his neck, and die. Lotto befriends twins Chollie and Gwennie, and a gay Asian boy named Michael, all of whom get Lotto into drugs. Mathilde deals with her issues by shutting others out. In college, reeling from the overdose death of Gwennie, Lotto decides to commit suicide but stops when he sees Mathilde. Instead, he asks her to marry him, determined to completely change his life for her.