Fates and Furies

No one ever really knows what goes on inside a marriage—including, sometimes, at least one of the two people living in it. Lotto and Mathilde, the twin poles and opposing mysteries of Groff’s rich, tricky novel, are the golden ones among their friends, the kind of couple whose youth and beauty and crackling chemistry spill light on everyone around them. He’s an aspiring actor and inveterate social animal; she is quieter, cool and watchful. They’re by far the first ones in their privileged circle to get married, living broke—eloping has cost Lotto his considerable trust fund—but happy on pizza and wine and gymnastic newlywed sex in Manhattan. Just as poverty begins to feel less like a bohemian lark and more like real hardship, Fates takes a turn, but the book’s biggest twist (early readers have noted shades of Gone Girl; that’s a little misleading, but not wrong) doesn’t come till halfway through. 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. B+

Fates and Furies
2015 book
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