Monday, September 21, 2015

Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff

I don't - and won't - understand anyone who calls this book "Gone Girl" with slightly nicer characters.  That's just lazy.  Sure, there is a bit of subterfuge, but it's not done purposefully, with malice aforethought, as in "Gone Girl."  In my opinion, these characters are both more subtle and more substantial that the "Gone Girl" characters.  At the same time, "Gone Girl" was ripe for film-making.  This book will require much more finesse from a director if it is to become a profitable movie.

Lauren Goff has chosen a very apt title to use with the literary devices she employs.  Our view in the first half is told largely from the perspective of Lotto, a tragic character who does not rot away as the main character in "The Goldfinch" did last year, but rather falls into (Fate) situations and the lives of people that help him become the best version of himself.

Mathilde, on the other hand, has scarier demons.  From childhood, she has known that she is not worth being loved, because of the evil she buries deep inside.  Whether this is true or not, her fate is to live life as though it is.  When the 2nd half of the book arrives (Furies), we are treated to an even more disjointed telling of what happens to such a person when the great love that has held them together is suddenly taken away.  So much of this second half draws on the multiple meanings of the word fury, and does it with subtlety and originality.

Unfortunately, the ending slowly fizzles, leaving us without much resolution, either tragedy or comedy, just letting the fury tire herself out and fade away.  That was the biggest disappointment for me.  I would have enjoyed a stronger ending, but have to respect the author's choice.


This is the October pick for NPR's "Morning Edition" Book Club, which I just discovered last week.  It sounded interesting, so I bought it and read it right away.



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