Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is the story of a marriage. I suppose you could call it a love story. I would, actually. I’ve seen people talk about it as a brutal evisceration of marriage, anther Gone Girl. But that wasn’t what it was to me at all.
Fates and Furies is the story of two supremely flawed individuals, or in other words, two human beings, who love each other and commit to each other when they are very young. It is a story of a marriage and two lives and the things keep from the people we love.
Do we ever really know the people we love? It asks.
One of my favorite quotes from the story reads:
He knew her, the things he didn’t know about her would sink an ocean liner; he knew her.
Isn’t that how it works? We can never truly know what it’s like to be another human being. We all keep our secrets, even from those we love–sometimes intentionally, sometimes inadvertently. There are elements of being human and alive and flawed and unique that are impossible to fully express.
There are elements of being human and alive and flawed and unique that we choose not to express.
And so we go through our days. We continue to love.
We don’t know them. We know them.
My goodness. I want to write better, more. I want to be able to see people as Lauren Groff does. I want to capture a moment, a real moment. Just one.
I want to read it again.
It was mathematical, marriage. Not, as one might expect, additional. It was exponential… In they’d come, integers; out they came, squared.
The noble feel the same strong feelings as the rest of us; the difference is in how they choose to act.
Marriage is made of lies. Kind ones, mostly. Omissions. If you give voice to the things you think every day about your spouse, you’d crush them to paste.
His eagerness, his deep kindness, these were benefits of his privilege. This peaceful sleep of being born male and rich and white and American and at this prosperous time, when the wars were happening far from home. This boy, told from the first moment he was born that he could do what he wanted. All he needed was to try. Mess up over and over, and everyone would wait until he got it right.
Her love for him was new and her love for herself was old. And she was all she’d had for so very, very long.
Life was conical in shape, the past broadening beyond the sharp point of the lived moment. The more life you had, the more the base expanded, so that the wounds and trains that were nearly imperceptible when they happened, stretched like tiny dots on a balloon slowly blown up. A speck on the slender child grows into a gross deformity in the adult, inescapable, ragged at the edges.
Perhaps I’ve been wrong. Perhaps the mother had watched her daughter fail and fail and didn’t move to help out of something unfathomable, something Mathilde struggled to understand, a thing that was like an immense kind of love.
Mathilde’s heart was a bitter one, vengeful and quick. [True.]
Mathilde’s heart was a kind one. [True.]