“Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.”
Genre: Literary Fiction.
Number of Pages: 400.
Perspective: Alternating Third.
Location: New York.
Fates and Furies is a novel about marriage. The price of marriage, what you will do for a spouse, and the lies you will tell. It is also a novel about perception, and how the same story may be different to different people. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This was a book that I had to wait a few days before I wrote my review. I just really had no idea if I liked it or not. Honestly, if I wasn’t reading this book for my book club, I would have given up on it after the first half. But—knowing that there was a second half, I just knew that there had to be something more to the story. That poses an interesting question: Can a horrible first half of a book be redeemed by an amazing ending? The answer: Only if all of the readers don’t quit before that point. Which is what the general consensus seems to be in the reviews. Most people who said the book was horrible, gave up halfway through. Most of the people who loved the book, finished it.
I’m sitting here writing this review, still feeling conflicted. At some points, I hated this book. But now, I may possibly love this book. Not because of the story itself, but because of how much thought went into each and every part of this book. It may not seem like it from the first half, but once you read the second half, everything you thought you knew from the beginning is twisted in a new and dark way. It makes it clear that the author considered every detail and subtle nuance. And for that, I love this book. My book club had a field day with this one. Some loved it, and some hated it. But none of us could deny how much substance there was to this book. Maybe controversial books make the best books. At least for discussions.
This is not an easy book to read. It is written with lots purple prose—too many words to describe something so simple. I think some of that is ok, but when I have to read several paragraphs about someone doing one action and it is flowered with elaborate descriptions and metaphors, that’s too much. And a lot of times the overall meaning gets lost in the excess words. When you are caught up in the book, things make sense, but if you look at individual sentences or try to read it aloud, it sounds ridiculous. Nobody talks like that. I would hate to listen to this as an audiobook. You really have to think through what each sentence really means. Groff is obviously a talented writer, but this may deter the average reader.
Also—if you don’t like books with sex, this is not for you. It’s not explicit like 50 Shades of Grey, but there’s a sex scene typically multiple times per chapter.
I would recommend this book for book clubs. It loses a lot of its appeal if you can’t discuss it with someone afterwards. Even though I still don’t know how I really feel about this book, I still think that it’s worth reading—just don’t give up halfway through! The second part is what defines the whole book. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
“She shouldn’t have. She knew it. But her love for him was new, and her love for herself was old, and she was all she’d had for so very, very long.”
o Amber Gregg o