Lauren Groff’s third novel is a twice-told tale of a marriage. First, we get the husband Lotto’s perspective on the 24-year union; then it’s the turn of Mathilde, his wife, who exposes the essential separateness of a couple supposedly “joined” in matrimony. It’s clever and it works: the story is no less gripping the second time, with Mathilde’s revelations having all the ferocity of the titular Greek divinities.
Though Lotto and Mathilde, wed at 22 after a two-week courtship, are vivid, the supporting cast of school friends, old flames and difficult relatives is less clearly drawn. But this and the occasional frilly word choice are minor flaws: Fates and Furies is a lyrical and, at times, astonishingly beautiful account of how little it is possible to know about those closest to us.
Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff, Heinemann, RRP£14.99 / Riverhead, RRP$27.95, 400 pages