29th May 2017 at 4:25 pm #7143
Well, this was an interesting choice for a book group book, even if I do say so myself! I have to admit that it took me a while to get going and I had to start twice because I just couldn’t muster any enthusiasm at the outset. I had to read on though – it’s a book group choice right?
The first part – Fates- irritated me. The prose is lovely and her imagery super – Champagne bubbles jumping like fleas etc – but every single character in the first half of the story annoyed me. Lotto was just so very positive despite the series of unfortunate events that befall him. His endless cheerfulness and the depth of his affection for his odd wife who seemed to me to be made of plastic just didn’t ring true. And all those worshipping friends? It was just too good to be true. Only when Lotto’s life started to become a little more precarious, after his decision to write an opera with a talented but reclusive musician, did he start to interest me and then – spoiler alert – he was dead.
But it was OK because now I was over halfway through and the second half of a book, like a long walk, always seems to go more quickly. And then I began Furies. Where Lotto was too good to be true Mathilde was bad, where he was easy-going she was calculating, where he was surface-level and reflective she was multi-layered and dark. Things started to pick up as I saw their dull, easy life through the filter of her lens. I loved her badness. I’m not sure she is meant to be bad – just hideously damaged by her circumstances but I thought she was bad. I mean she causes her own downfall by killing her brother. She didn’t do that by accident!
All marriages are the sum of two people who think they know each other and can love the other’s flaws but this book suggests otherwise. It seems you can be married for decades and not know the first thing about your spouse. I find this both intriguing and slightly scary!
So did you read it? What did you think?
Imogen.25th June 2017 at 9:09 am #8977
I too found it slow to get going, but I did enjoy it over all.
Certainly the second section was much more interesting.
Matilde was she born bad? I feel she was, how clever she covered that aspect of her personality.
Interesting choice of book
I couldn’t understand why it Barack Obama’s book of the year.25th June 2017 at 8:45 pm #8979
I don’t know if she was born bad or became bad after she made the one devastating mistake with her brother. I’m also not sure why it won so many prizes either. If I hadn’t been reading it for this forum then I’m not sure I would have made it to the Furies section which would have been a shame because I did enjoy the second half.
Imogen.28th July 2017 at 11:22 am #12089
Sorry I’m late posting again though I did finish it a while ago . I was struggling with the Lotto half of the book til I saw Imogen & she said the 2nd half was more readable so I got back into it & I completely agree . As a whole work when I read it all I think it works & I thought her backstory & her side of the marriage was fascinating . I actually thought the last section of the book implied her brother’s death was an accident she was blamed for & I felt great sympathy for her – she was so unwanted & manipulated by everyone til she got to college & even then she had to deal with The truth of Lotto’s mother’s manipulation. So I didn’t see her as bad just damaged and secretive . A great book club choice Imogen – very thought provoking & ultimately a very interesting & well written book almost more satisfying when it seemed so heavy going at first .31st July 2017 at 7:23 pm #12369
That’s really interesting Stephanie. I was totally convinced that she’d hurt her brother on purpose but what if I’m treating her unfairly? I wonder if she got her punishment by having to be married to Lotto for all those years!!
The next book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine if you fancy reading along again.