Friday, July 1, 2016

Book Review: Fates and Furies

Don't worry about spoilers. I don't care enough to include any.

Fates and Furies - Lauren Groff

Plot: The book is split into two parts, Fates and Furies. Fates follows Lancelot (ugh) Satterwhite from birth to death, with the largest chunk of the story taking place over the course of his 30-ish-year marriage to Mathilde. Furies does the same thing with Mathilde, though much less linearly.

Thoughts: First, a little story. For some reason I feel like I've written this anecdote on the blog before, but I can't find it so here it is (possibly) again. When I was in high school, I took a class called Peace Studies. One of the things that Mr. Vennell, our teacher, stressed was that when we didn't like something (like a book or a movie), we should say "I didn't like it" or "I didn't think it was good" - but not "That movie is bad." I've always really appreciated that rule because it's true that opinions vary and art can be good and can be enjoyed by other people without me liking it. 

That being said -  this book is bad. So, so, so bad. But it's critically-acclaimed, it was Amazon's 2015 Book of the Year, and it was President Obama's favorite book of the year - AND I DON'T KNOW WHY. 

The smug pretension of the writing kills me. KILLS ME. Her main characters are called Lancelot and Mathilde. Please. And we can't just call Lancelot's mother Mom or Ma or even Mother - it's Muvva. WHY?!? There are all kinds of little bracketed asides [you know, cause just writing a normal sentence is too plebeian]. 

It's almost physically painful to read the dialogue because it's so stilted and unrealistic. It's kind of like if robots performed scenes out of Dawson's Creek. And then there are the plays. Lancelot becomes an insufferable, famous playwright and we're subjected to portions of his works. 

My grade: F-

Who would I recommend it to: A prisoner who is stuck in solitary confinement and, in the very truest sense of the phrase, has absolutely nothing else to do with their time. It would help if the person is in prison for a really terrible, violent crime so that I don't feel bad that they have to suffer through this book. 

P.S. If you want to read a funny, much more insightful and detailed review of this terrible book, check out this one on Goodreads. Here's a preview: "To the contrary, Fates and Furies is the antithesis of a literary masterpiece. The only expectation it defies is that of one expecting to read good literature. It is dazzling only in its level of insipid ludicrousness." Bahahaha!

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