Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In a swirling miasma of language, plot, and Greek mythology, Groff (Arcadia) weaves a fierce and gripping tale of true love gone asunder. Told in two interwoven parts, the fable-like story of Lancelot (Lotto) and Mathilde's 24-year marriage unfolds, first from Lotto's perspective, then Mathilde's. "Fates," the first part, takes readers through Lotto's mopey years as a failed actor living in "glamorous poverty" in New York City's Greenwich Village, his overnight success as a playwright, his struggles with aging, his perpetually hungry ego, his estrangement from his millionaire mother, and his gleeful infatuation with and dependency on his pale, bewitching wife. Meanwhile, Mathilde's all-consuming adoration for her husband doesn't completely jive with the dark secrets she's hiding from him. Of course, there's always the sex. Groff's prose is variously dewy, defiant, salacious, and bleak-a hurricane of words thrown together on every page. Yet so much of the power in this book lies in what's unspoken-Lotto's bottomless sorrow and self-pity flanked by Mathilde's white-hot rage and, later, her thirst for revenge. 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." Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
An absorbing story of a modern marriage framed in Greek mythology. Groff's sharply drawn portrait of a marriage begins on a cold Maine beach, with newlyweds "on their knees, now, though the sand was rough and hurt. It didn't matter. They were reduced to mouths and hands." This opener ushers in an ambitious, knowing novel besotted with sexin a kaleidoscope of varietymuch more abundant than the commune-dwellers got up to in Groff's luminous Arcadia (2012). The story centers first on Lancelot "Lotto" Satterwhite, a dashing actor at Vassar, who marries his classmate, flounders, then becomes a famous playwright. Lotto's name evokes the lotteryand the Fates, as his half of the book is titled. His wife, the imperial and striking Mathilde, takes over the second section, Furies, astir with grief and revenge. The plotting is exquisite, and the sentences hum; Groff writes with a pleasurable, bantering vividness. Her book is smart, albeit with an occasional vibrato of overkill. The author gives this novel a harder edge and darker glow than previous work, echoing Mathilde's observation, "She was so tired of the old way of telling stories, all those too worn narrative paths, the familiar plot thickets, the fat social novels. 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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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