2018-005: Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff

Oh but I worry that maybe Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is where my Great Blogging Experiment of 2018 starts splitting at the seams. Too damn soon. This is a rave-reviewed, well-loved book, critics and people I like praise it, and yet, I don’t want to talk about it. Part of me wants to say it’s because I’d feel like I’d let down those who have praised it, but I’m sure it’s not that, or not entirely that, and part of me wants to make a point about how the book feels like an extended hit-piece against the likeability of its own characters, but that’s a half-formed thought for another post entirely. I can see that it is a good novel, ambitious, transportive, plotted intricately, surprisingly, layered through lyrical, alluring prose, infectious prose—prose that simultaneously draws the attention of everyone in the room while secretly slipping its hands through your skin and flicking your earlobe with the tip of its tongue. While these were all reasons for me to enjoy this novel, while it’s safe to say I could pick up what this novel was putting down, I’m not sure I could so easily say I actually liked it. Honestly: it stressed me out. (I mean, it’s January, yeah, and all is darkness, sure; the timing is hardly Lauren Groff’s fault.) It’s a little bit like I couldn’t possibly have been smart enough or cool enough for it; this novel was better than me, it had to be living a life beyond mine, one I’d never see in full focus or understand as well as I might like, but also that it made me nervous because I saw myself in it, from certain glancing angles, through shattered layers of frosted glass, those shards of recognition crested on mild waves of nausea. To talk about this book would be to talk about myself and I don’t much feel like talking about myself right now.