Fates and Furies Book Review

Fates and Furies: Book Review by Dinh

4.5 stars


They meet in the final months of college, and by graduation, they had married. It’s 1991. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. There are lean, romantic years that follow: potluck parties in a Manhattan basement apartment; a wilting acting career that doesn’t pay the bills; a household that seems to run on good luck and good sex.

A decade or so later, though, Lotto and Mathilde are on their way. He is a world- famous playwright, she is integral to his success. Their life and marriage are the envy of friends, the very definition of successful partnership.


Synopsis from hardcover version, 390 pages, copyright 2015 by Riverhead Books.

Fate and Furies A Novel


< Spoilers ahead! >

Oh yeah, I am doing my happy dance!

I am happy that we chose Fates And Furies by Lauren Groff to read for our book club because it was a brilliant read!

It’s so nice to read something enjoyable and not have too many things about it that I didn’t like.

I this is my first book by NY Times best seller author Groff. She has also written Arcadia, Delicate Edible Birds and The Monsters of Templeton. I am now intrigue to find out if her other works are good to!

Fates And Furies is a wonderful story of a marriage. I enjoyed how the story was crafted, with its surprising twists and changing perspectives.

Let’s break it down to what I like about it!



I loved the way Lauren Groff writes.

The layout of the book is divided into Fates and then Furies. The first half is Fates and tells of Lotto perspective, the second half is for Furies and is Mathilde side of the story.

Groff is ingenious in that she made it very distinct and choppy in the first section of the book.  Then the prose in the second part of the book is more liquid and flowing.

The changes in the writing style is great in reflecting how the marriage has two perspectives. One for Lotto and one for Mathilde.

It worked well because Groff is able to capture the person’s perspective effectively.


Fates and Furies Book Review


Plot And Pace:

I liked the simplicity of the plot!

The plot is about marriage of the Lotto and Mathilde and is not really action driven story but character driven one.

You get to find out about their marriage, and why they married and what drove them to stay together.

Though character driven story line, it is an interesting tale with surprising events and twists which gets revealed when you don’t expect it.

I also liked the speed of the book. It was a steady read and also a page turner in most parts, though I did find parts of it slow especially in Fates.

Lotto point of view was a bit tedious as he was so self centered. Me, me, me and more me! As you can see I didn’t warm up to him.



I liked the two main characters stories and the supporting characters were also good in this book. The inclusion of the supporting characters to made the story flow but not all of them were memorable, with the exception of Chollie, Lotto’s childhood friend.



I loved Mathilde’s sad story!

What I enjoyed the most was how Groff’s held my attention by giving bits here and there, going from present day to the past, in Mathilde’s story.

Not only does this captures my attention, but giving Mathilde’s childhood and history like this makes you change your point of view of her as you read.

Having not much liked her in Lotto’s side of the story, when I was reading the second part of the book it made me  have a much richer understanding of her character as I continued to read.

Though I didn’t warm to Mathilde, her childhood history did make her character interesting and I could empathize with her.

I enjoyed the fact that I was surprised with Mathilde’s story. It was heartbreaking and surprising the things that happened to her.

Mathilde was neglected and unloved as a child. Her parents abandoned her when she was 4 and even her uncle disregards her in her childhood. That history of being unloved and neglected shaped her view of life.

I found Mathilde childhood story really sad. She became who she was because she had to survive. She had to be tough and had no hope for love until she met Lotto.



Lotto story on the other hand, was a complete opposite to Mathilde. He was the golden boy who was given everything from birth and was thought to destined for greatness by his parents and aunt.

He had a privileged life and carefree life growing up in grand plantation in Florida. Always at the center of attention, he grew up overly confident and narcissistic.

In this part of his story Groff ties in the “Fates,” as in  the Greek mythology. The Fates are incarnation of destiny and control the thread of life from birth to death. Lotto’s thought he was destined to be great. Even his name is a pun.
Fates and Furies Inside The Book


Themes: What’s Groff’s Message?

I like the theme of marriage in this book. The idea that marriage has two view points and we don’t always know the other person.

It seems that although they were married for 24 years that they never knew each other. Lotto had secrets and so did Mathilde.

Lotto found out Mathilde secret years into the marriage. Mathilde was not a virgin as he thought when he married her, but she had other relationships and was a mistress to Ariel English, a gallery owner and Mathilde’s former boss.

Mathilde also found out Lotto’s deep secrets. She was surprised that Lotto had fallen for Leo Sen, a composer that Lotto was working with. Later, after Lotto’s death, she finds out that he had a child…


What Didn’t Work For Me?

I really enjoyed reading Fates And Furies but there was something lacking in the book.

The novel was not emotive. I didn’t feel moved and didn’t  connect to either main characters. Perhaps because they weren’t likable characters, whatever it was, I felt too distanced from the main characters.

To be honest, I felt that it was a bit high brow for me at times. I didn’t get all the references, especially all the myths.

I was not familiar with the mythology parts of the book and had to look it up to get the gist why it was included and what its significance was.

I guess on the bright side, I did learn something…


My Final Thoughts:

I felt satisfied reading this book. This was a very well thought out book, not only in layout, and style of writing, but also with the inclusion of classical myths to highlight the themes. (Even though I had to look it up).

The cleverness of the book is only a backdrop for this wonderfully told story which focuses on two very different people coming together in a marriage. It’s an interesting tale of two perspectives in a marriage and how secrets can hinder the person from knowing each other.


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24 thoughts on “Fates and Furies Book Review

  1. I’d love to see your happy dance. Haha.

    Someone very wise once told me, “There are always three sides to a story: his, her, and the right side.” The premise of this book reminds me of that quote. Glad you enjoyed it even if the characters were not too relatable. Great review, Dinh.

    1. Hi Lonna!
      I actually don’t have a happy dance, it’s more like a happy wiggle. 🙂 My moves are from the 80s and not that good. Hehehe.

      That is a wise quote. The truth is always out there somewhere…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Nice review. This book seems interesting in telling the story from both husband and wife, in separate parts of the book. I think I would like reading something like that. You mentioned that you never really warmed up, or was moved by the characters. Why do you think that was? Was it just because of the mythology parts? Did having to look up the references to them distract you from getting to know the characters in a way that would make you feel connected to them? I feel like that would be the case with me, looking up the myths would distract me.

    1. Hello Summerly!
      I think I didn’t warm up to the characters not because of the mythology, it was more because the characters were not warm- fuzzy types that you’d like to know. Lotto was self-centered and his narcissism just put me off him. Mathilde, I didn’t get, their wasn’t enough development with history. They weren’t really believable characters-more like a mold of a character.
      Yes, the mythology references did distract me from reading and getting into the story.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  3. Dinh, I enjoyed this review, but I felt a bit saddened that the secrets stopped them from really knowing each other. This is so true in reality and these secrets can even prevent us from giving 100% or more. Nice read.

    1. Hi Josephine!
      I think Groff ask a really good question: Can we really know our partner if we have secrets?
      I agree with you that it’s sad to be in a marriage where you have secrets and not be able to really know the other person.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. This sounds like a pretty interesting books. Marriage being the center and not knowing whether or not you ever truly know the person you are giving your time to is so interesting… I’m impressed. But it’s a shame that it was not as emotive as you wanted it to be while you were reading!

    1. Hi Olivia!
      Fates and Furies was a great read because it had a great pace and interesting theme.
      I do like to be invested in the characters and be moved either way and it was a shame that this book lacked it.
      However it was still very enjoyable.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Hello Becky!
      So nice to hear from you!
      Yes, I enjoyed this one. Groff writes really well and the story line is good too.

      Let me know if you like it, I would love to hear what you think about it! 🙂

  5. Another great review! I like how the book is divided into 2 parts to let the readers learn about the perspective from the 2 main characters. The plot sounds interesting and it makes me want to find out what other secrets they both hold.

    I’ve not heard of Lauren Groff before. Thanks for your recommendation.

    1. Hi Yvonne!
      I liked the surprises in the book! It also happened when I wasn’t expecting it so it made it that much more enjoyable.

      I thought the story was going to be straight forward and not have any surprises…

      I enjoyed this book and hope you will get a chance to read it!

  6. Hi Dinh,

    Great review! I am not ordinarily into fiction but this review really caught my eye. Marriage is such a wondrous and unpredictable thing and as you mention here you can know someone for 24 years but not really know them!

    I like really emotive books that inspire and as you say this one lacked a little bit of emotion. I will certainly check out others you review from now on.

    Thanks again for a really interesting review,


    1. Hi Kev!
      I liked the story line too, especially one of marriage and how we can’t truly know the other person when we have secrets.

      I wished I had connected with the protagonists and that they were more likable!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. It sounds interesting! I am very curious about it since you are reviewing it with such a passion! I always appreciate a good reading! I think that there is a psychoanalytic approach since the book is called fates and furies! Fates and furies are creatures of ancient greek mythology that lead the destiny and our feelings of guilty! Thanks for letting me know about this book, Dinh! I will put it on my reading list immediately!
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Rebecca!
      You are right about the Greek mythology, it’s reference quite a bit and I didn’t put it together until I researched it a bit.
      Overall it’s a great book to read so I hope you enjoy when you get a chance.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  8. This one sounds like it could be interesting. I like when books show that everyone has a different point of view and sometimes you can’t always know what another person is thinking. That being said, I do think that being moved by a book is also really important. Appreciate your thoughts!

    1. Hi Alicia!
      I agree with you about being moved in a book. I loved the different viewpoint in this book but it didn’t get 5 stars because it lacked the emotional aspect that I like in books.
      The story is interesting and the concepts of marriage and secrets is great so it’s definitely worth a read. She’s a great writer.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  9. Hello Dinh, I tend to get ‘caught up’ in the reviews and almost feel that I am reading the books myself. I realize it’s just a review when you unplug and begin to review it. There seemed to be a nice flow to it, even thought you said it loss you in parts where the myths were concerned. It sounds like a book I would read, in years gone by and enjoy.

    Thank you for sharing your passion for books with others. Books are wonderful, but sadly, it is said less people are reading books with real pages these days, it is mainly electronic books. You can cuddle up to a good book, maybe some can to kindle but certainly not a PDF. I am being old fashioned I guess. Keep promoting good books.

    1. Hello EJ!
      Fates and Furies had good flow and pace. I really enjoyed reading it.
      Like I said, there was only a couple of things I didn’t like. I didn’t get the references so I felt it was high brow/pretentious. Had I been more educated and got the references I might have enjoyed it more.
      I know that people, or the younger generation are preferring electronic books but I don’t think paper book will die out completely. There’s something special about holding a book to read and touching the pages…

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  10. “A marriage run on good luck and good sex” – that’s a funny line
    Were they referencing Greek or Norse mythology just curious? Maybe not either one I don’t know.
    Excellent breakdown of this story and what is inside the book. I also love the way you break down what you didn’t like especially how you felt no emotion for the main characters.
    Thanks for this great review, really well done!

    1. Hello Peter!
      The book referenced classical mythology so when I researched, I looked at Greek and Roman mythology. I didn’t know much about Fates or Furies and it was good to learn that.

      I am glad you enjoyed the review.

      Do stop by again at Arlene’s Book Club!

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