Fates and Furies

Lauren Goff

Please. Marriage is made of lies. Kind ones, mostly. Omissions. If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you’d crush them to paste. She never lied. Just never said.

I got a rare opportunity with this book that doesn't happen that often anymore; I got to read the entire thing in a single day. I'm really glad I did because the way the book is formatted rewards your memory. It follows a marriage over 24 years with background chapters for each of them.

At it's core, Fate and Furies is a beautiful book about marriage. There are two parts as the title might suggest and both contail details of the glorious matrimony, an unparrelled happiness that you share with your partner, and also sections of despair and harsh light shone on conflict and secrecy. As someone who is young in their marraige I rad this book with a touch of recognition for the slow transformation of two individuals brought so closely together. While I'm still in the beginning section of my marriage, reading the sections of a marriage that's five, ten, twenty years old felt familar.

First comes the life of Lotto, husband, actor, playwright and veritable force of nature. We see events first through his dramatic eyes and see the gold-tinted light in which he holdes his wife Mathilde. She is the angel untouchable, his foundation and muse for most of his dramatic lifetime which brings with it the fantastic highs and gripping lows of fear and anxiety. These stories have a mythic quality to them, notably reflective of the greek dramas where Lotto draws inspiration from for his plays.

The nuances of the book lie in how well the author describes the mix of devotion and annoyance that bounces between two married people. The language is vibrant and lively, showing the interplay of two hearts over the course of years. Lush is a word used often in the book and I think it's appropriate to describe the portait painted for us of Lotto and Mathilde as they move from young, poor and lovely into the twisting worlds of middle-age.

We cross over to the "Furies" part of the book and see the events through a crisp, bluer light as Mathidle shows us her view of the marriage and what being married to someone like Lotto brings to you. There some of the details from the first section crystalize and we see how success in relationships may sometimes mean concealment as well as a soft hand. This section seems a bit colder in the way it's framed in the story of their lives, but we are never told that it's the "true story" or anything more of how Mathilde saw herself in this relationship and stories of her past that help explain that.

The pace of the book keeps accelerating as you learn more and more about the relationship. Towards the end things happen in rapid succession and you feel yourself moving from an outsider looking in to almost a participant in the marriage of these two people. Their portrayal is almost as gods, again tying in with the grecian theme, and we get to watch them love and battle across an incredible stage.


392 pages
Published 2015
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