Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
A Novel

75%

59 Critic Reviews

She needed something messier, something sharper, something like a bomb going off.” Indeed it is. An intricate plot, perfect title, and a harrowing look at the tie that binds.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

AMAZON'S 2015 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A FINALIST FOR THE 2015 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
NPR MORNING EDITION BOOK CLUB PICK
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, TIME, THE SEATTLE TIMES, MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE, SLATE, LIBRARY JOURNAL, KIRKUS, AND MANY MORE

“Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and Fates and Furies is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers – with comedy, tragedy, well-deployed erudition and unmistakable glimmers of brilliance throughout.” —The New York Times Book Review (cover review)

“Elaborate, sensual...a writer whose books are too exotic and unusual to be missed."—The New York Times
 
Fates and Furies is a clear-the-ground triumph.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post


From the award-winning, New York Times- bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia, one of the most anticipated books of the fall: an exhilarating novel about marriage, creativity, art, and perception.

Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation. 

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Lauren Groff

See more books from this Author
Lauren Groff is the author of the New York Times bestselling MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON and the critically acclaimed short story collection DELICATE EDIBLE BIRDS. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her short stories have appeared in several literary publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and Ploughshares, and she has won fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and Yaddo.
 
Published September 15, 2015 by Riverhead Books. 391 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 04 2015
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Fates and Furies
All: 59 | Positive: 45 | Negative: 14

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 06 2015

She needed something messier, something sharper, something like a bomb going off.” Indeed it is. An intricate plot, perfect title, and a harrowing look at the tie that binds.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on May 29 2015

There are moments when the writing feels self-indulgent, but, for the most part, it's an intoxicating elixir. Perhaps Groff herself says it best: "It was less a story than a great creature surfacing from the deep; it was more sudden audible wave than narrative."

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Robin Black on Sep 08 2015

The word “ambitious” is often used as code for “overly ambitious,” a signal that an author’s execution has fallen short. No such hidden message here. Lauren Groff is a writer of rare gifts, and “Fates and Furies” is an unabashedly ambitious novel that delivers...

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Sep 06 2015

Whenever “Fates and Furies” has a dark undercurrent to trumpet, it announces its insights before readers can make their own discoveries...Ms. Groff’s prose can be gorgeous, especially with the erotic heat she brings to it here. It can also be florid and odd...bumpy but alluring...

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Susanna Rustin on Oct 28 2015

Perhaps others will find more to admire than I did in this strange mashup of literary and pulp fiction.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Hannah Beckerman on Oct 04 2015

While intricately constructed, as a study of marriage, families and the fates and furies that compel individuals’ actions, the story lacks the psychological insight and rounded character portrayals that might have transformed it from an intellectually interesting novel to an outstanding one.

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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Sep 22 2015

Ingenious, but my reservation about "Fates And Furies" derives from this fact - Groff basically has written a two-character story, and within a day of finishing this novel, I had trouble remembering those two characters' names.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Sheehan on Sep 15 2015

The half-and-half narration could've failed terribly if Groff hadn't had it in her to do the hard thing — which is not to just tell two versions of the same story, but two completely different stories that happen to contain some of the same details.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Sep 21 2015

“Fates and Furies” skillfully corroborates the old saw that behind every great man there stands a woman. It also shows a hugely talented writer advancing not only with sure-footed strides but powering forward in impressive leaps and bounds.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Goodfellow Wagner on Feb 07 2016

“Fates and Furies” is brilliant. Every carefully composed sentence is beautifully written. It is, from any perspective, a compelling tale that -- like life itself -- is filled with tragedy and comedy.

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Corinna Lothar on Apr 07 2016

It is brilliant, so vivid and exciting that the reader can almost hear the music composed for the opera. It is a tour de force and the most moving part of “Fates and Furies.” We care about Go, who “has become the spirit of humanity.”

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on Sep 17 2015

However, FATES AND FURIES adds something much more to the genre...FATES AND FURIES is hard to put down and impossible to forget.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Edan Lepucki on Sep 10 2015

In "Fates and Furies," Lauren Groff has taken the struggles and pleasures of marriage and turned them into art, and in that artfulness she reminds us of the dangers and omissions that any storytelling requires.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Randon Billings Noble on Sep 14 2015

Reading this book will leave you both satisfied and wondering, reassured and unsettled. It’s a book to read in a day, and then stay up half the night thinking about, and then, later, read again.

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Leah Greenblatt on Sep 30 2015

Groff is a fantastically vivid writer, though baroqueness can get the best of her, and her protagonists’ flowery self-regard wears thin. Still, it’s hard to stop reading. Lotto and Mathilde may be exhausting, but they’re also almost as fascinating as they think they are.

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The Independent

Above average
Reviewed by Matthew Adams on Oct 13 2015

The plotting is elegant, intricate and assured. And Groff writes with an imaginative compassion...Yet the novel is not without shortcomings. Groff's prose can be sloppy and the reader has to get through nearly half of the book before her narrative gains any traction.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Mark Athitakis on Sep 28 2015

"Fates and Furies" doesn’t blow up marriage, but it’s a ferocious attack on its pieties and commonplaces. The marriage plot is forever, but Groff has found a new way to court the reader.

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Huffington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Maddie Crum on Sep 09 2015

Who will read it? Those interested in sprawling, epic stories, or stories about marital bliss or turmoil. Those interested in anything Shakespeare-adjacent.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by MARTHA ANNE TOLL on Sep 02 2015

Groff’s skill is in spinning an entire novel around Lotto and Mathilde’s insular relationship. She explores the personal damage each brings...Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage is the real protagonist in Fates and Furies, a subject the author not only captures, but masters.

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Dallas News

Above average
Reviewed by CECILY SAILER on Sep 19 2015

Groff wholly fulfills her intention, raising an unanswerable question: Is marriage an equation of addition, multiplication or something more twisty — a formula of variables within parentheses capped by exponents?

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Lauren Bufferd on Sep 15 2015

Groff’s writing is intelligent, knowing and deliciously sexy. When Groff’s red-hot prose ignites Mathilde’s icy rage, Fates and Furies is something very special indeed.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Kim Lyons on Sep 27 2015

“Fates and Furies” is a must-read, a novel whose intricate, thrilling details demand readers return and re-read again and again.

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Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Rohan Maitzen on Jan 25 2016

Don’t get me wrong: I read Fates and Furies with unflagging attention and much admiration. In the end it left me cold, though: it had me thinking back on, say, Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins...If I said the quality I felt was missing from Groff’s novel was heart, would that sound too earnest or sentimental? Would it be fair?

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20Something Reads

Excellent
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on Sep 17 2015

Groff takes on what could be a rather predictable story and adds so many delicate but edifying layers and renders unto readers a remarkable tapestry of “rich and royal hues,” to quote songwriter Carole King.

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Eliot Schrefer on Sep 19 2015

Fates and Furies can seem out to make an impression first and tell a good story second, but if occasional affectation is the cost of such ambition, it was worth the gamble.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Nov 11 2015

Fates and Furies is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for fiction, and when the awards ceremony takes place Wednesday night (see infobox on this page) I'll be rooting for it to win, not just because Groff lives in Gainesville and some of the book is set in Florida, but because it's one terrific novel.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Good
Reviewed by Margaret Quamme on Sep 20 2015

Hers is hardly the first novel about marriage, and it won’t be the last. So the challenge she sets for herself in Fates and Furies is how to make the reader care about this familiar subject.

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Newsday

Good
Reviewed by Marion Winik on Sep 11 2015

There is so much to say about "Fates and Furies"; surely readers will be talking about it in and out of book clubs for quite some time. With it, Lauren Groff consolidates her spot among our most ambitious and gifted novelists.

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We Love This Book

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Franks on Sep 16 2015

An important literary voice, Groff has created a book about art, love and life that is at once playful, moving and thought-provoking.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Good
Reviewed by GREG WALKLIN on Nov 14 2015

The effect of the narrative reversal feels somewhat reminiscent of the smash "Gone Girl," although Groff's book is far more complex and nuanced...The writing here is exceptional and includes some of my favorite sentences I've read all year.

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The Miami Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Connie Ogle on Sep 26 2015

Fates and Furies, though, is even more ambitious, and Groff’s boldness pays off (the book is a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction).

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Journal Sentinel

Good
Reviewed by Mike Fischer on Sep 18 2015

...That passage constitutes some of the best writing I've read this year, in a book filled with sentences that are not only drop-dead gorgeous, but also philosophical and existentially tough...

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Post and Courier

Good
Reviewed by Catherine Holmes on Mar 06 2016

In language that is often thrilling, Groff encodes the uneasy ratio between hope and dread...Together, they also speak for love — a modern, uneasy love — but love just the same.

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The New Yorker

Below average
Reviewed by James Wood on Nov 02 2015

The “revelation” of the novel’s second half, far from binding the form in meaning, is the thread that fatally unravels it. Narrative secrets are not the same as human mysteries...

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The Rumpus

Excellent
Reviewed by ANITA FELICELLI on Oct 05 2015

Groff’s earlier novels were quirky and beautifully written, but this novel is more: it’s a tour de force. Thrilling, kaleidoscopic, impressionistic, and seeded with important questions about love, art, and storytelling, Fates and Furies is an unforgettable masterpiece, likely to be among the best novels of the year.

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Paste

Good
Reviewed by Bridey Heing on Sep 18 2015

Fates and Furies delivers a thrilling, dark tale that does justice to the complexities of marriage. In Lotto and Mathilde, the reader discovers two individuals pulling each other into the future and finding comfort in the one thing they do not doubt: their love.

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Spectrum Culture

Below average
Reviewed by ERICA PEPLIN on Jan 10 2016

As appealing as this might sound, they are too much like a real-life happy couple; their passion is intense but exclusive. We are always on the outside. As a result, Lotto and Mathilde are beautifully-crafted statues. The only thing missing is the heart.

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Annenberg Digital News

Good
Reviewed by Dale Chong on Nov 16 2015

Through stunning sentences and exquisite language, Groff writes provides all angles of Lotto and Mathilde. The marriage itself follows a predictable path through the rollercoaster of all marriages, each having its own struggles. What’s stunning about “Fates and Furies” is that Groff takes the reader through both sides...

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Upcoming4.Me

Excellent
Reviewed by William Heinemann on Oct 01 2015

As a sum of a whole, "Fates and Furies" is nothing less than a brilliant and fiendishly clever exploration of a marriage and everything else that follows it. It succeeds against all odds and opens a brave new chapter for Groff.

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The Mancunion

Above average
Reviewed by Laura Walsh on Jun 24 2016

...references went over my head and I personally didn’t feel they added to the narrative. Despite these small criticisms, I was utterly compelled by Fates and Furies from the very first page, and if this novel is anything to go by, I very much look forward to reading more of Lauren Groff’s writing.

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Aspen Times

Good
on Jun 17 2016

...the book is about marriage...“Fates and Furies” is as ambitious as fiction gets. It’s also as rewarding as reading can be.

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The Star Phoenix

Good
Reviewed by TRACY SHERLOCK on Oct 18 2015

With Fates and Furies, she brings shifting perspectives and enough plot complexities to fill six or seven other novels...Groff weaves it all together, pulling off a page-turner of a novel that will keep readers guessing.

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Booking Mama

Excellent
Reviewed by Julie P. on Oct 13 2015

Quite honestly, I was blown away by FATES AND FURIES. Lauren Groff is quite possibly one of the most talented authors out there right now, and it's going to be difficult over the next few months to find another book I appreciated as much as this one!

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https://www.bostonglobe.com

Above average
Reviewed by Rebecca Steinitz on Sep 26 2015

What, then, could be irritating? The sense, in the first half of the book, before the plot truly starts to unspool, that Lotto is an oblivious egotist...But if, in the moment, such authorial choices seem dubious, they are, in the end, largely redeemed by the book’s grand arc and vision.

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Raging Biblioholism

Excellent
Reviewed by Drew on Sep 21 2015

I’ve never read a book about a relationship that’s quite like this one. I’ve never read a book whose central relationship felt so vividly real, with all its flaws and problems and beauties and wonders.

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Nomad Reader

Excellent
on Oct 08 2015

Through these two characters, Groff offers a fascinating glimpse into marriage. Mathilde's story is one for the age, even as I acknowledge there are allusions to Greek mythology in this novel I did fully appreciate. Groff shows masterful control of voice, character, and storytelling...

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Rated Reads

Below average
Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim on Jun 23 2016

...that’s all I care to know. As much as the critics have hyped this novel, I couldn’t get past the beginning 60 pages. In that, there were about 10 uses of strong language, a brief scene of molestation by an adult teacher on a teen, and lots of references to sex.

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Everyday eBook

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Ridgway on Sep 15 2015

Fates and Furies is a wonderfully conceived novel about an almost mundane thing: a [mostly] happy marriage. With a reminder [a caution, more likely] that while perception is always real, it is not always true.

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From Left to Write

Below average
Reviewed by Thien-Kim on Dec 30 2015

I’m not bashing the book. It just wasn’t for me. I think for 2016, I’ll trust my gut on what to read instead of picking up a book because it’s famous. I’m happy it was a library book and not one I paid for.

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Boston Bibliophile

Below average
Reviewed by Marie Cloutier on Feb 02 2016

So yeah, ambivalence from me. I get why people like it; I get why they don't. Just before I finished the book I glanced through GoodReads reviews to see what folks were saying, if it fit with how I was feeling about the book and I found that I agreed more or less with the good reviews and the bad.

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Pop Culture Nerd

Above average
Reviewed by Pop Culture Nerd on Oct 04 2015

Though I found Lotto and Mathilde and their friends to be pretentious and callous at times, Groff created a world I was inexorably pulled into, like a mariner caught in a siren’s song.

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It's Either Sadness or Euphoria

Good
Reviewed by Larry on Sep 23 2015

I'm a huge fan of Lauren Groff, and her storytelling ability and her use of language is sensational. At times I marveled over her words but at times her prose was so weighty, so laden with metaphors and references to Greek mythology and Shakespeare that I found myself a little lost.

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The Nature of Things

Excellent
Reviewed by Dorothy Borders on Oct 26 2015

This is truly a remarkable book by a wonderfully talented writer. I had read Groff's previous book Arcadia in December 2012 and enjoyed it immensely...If possible, I liked this one even better.

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http://flavorwire.com

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Seltzer on Sep 16 2015

Groff accomplishes real feminist work on the back of an unlikable but mesmerizing character; this is impressive. Unquestionably, Fates and Furies is a tour de force...

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https://mauriceonbooks.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by lomaurice on Oct 05 2015

This is a book that is important this year. And, most likely, for years to come. I look forward to reading more of Groff.

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Book Chase

Good
Reviewed by Sam Sattler on Jan 07 2016

Lauren Groff's books are not easy reads. Her prose can be densely packed at times, and keeping up with her sometimes requires a bit of extra concentration. But it is all worth the effort because Groff never fails to deliver...

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https://savidgereads.wordpress.com

Good
on Feb 04 2016

I would highly recommend Fates and Furies. It is a novel that intricately and intelligently looks at how you can only hazard a guess at what people are thinking...

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Daisy Chain Book Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Daisy Chain Book Reviews on Oct 02 2015

...while this book may win a whole host of literary awards and garner praise far and wide, I’ll just put this out there, and say what I really mean: Overwritten, overwrought and overblown – this book was not for me.

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https://anokatony.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Anokatony on Sep 27 2015

After noticing the similarities between ‘Fates and Furies’ and Robertson Davies’ fiction, I strongly expect that Groff has read Davies since 2011. ‘Fates and Furies’ is a novel that goes into my “Don’t Miss” category.

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Reader Rating for Fates and Furies
69%

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