Recommend: Yes, with restrictions
Genres: Contemporary fiction, drama
Add to your TBR: Goodreads
Let me just start by saying that I could stare at this book’s cover the whole day. How gorgeous is that? Also, I added this book to my TBR* because I thought I had read somewhere that Michelle Obama recommended it, but actually it was Barack Obama’s recommendation instead.
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.
The first half of it is a 4.0 or 4.5-star rating to me, and the second half is a solid 5. I have seen this book being compared to Gone Girl, but it is nothing like it. It tells the story of Mathilde and Lotto’s marriage through both point of views, and how much you can end up never knowing about the person you spent most of your life with, which is where the similarities with Gone Girl end. It has some twists to it, but it is by no means a thriller. I can see how people could find her writing too bothersome and the plot not interesting enough, so if you are into books with more action and twists, then this is not for you. For me, though, this is a masterpiece.
This book has a 3.56 review on Goodreads at the moment, which is due to the fact that you either love or hate it. As for me, I love this book so much. The writing is beautifully lyrical, almost like reading an epic poem about the machinations and calculations that come into the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde. It is full of mythology and can become quite dense at times. The scenes and the thoughts of the characters are so wonderfully crafted that you can almost feel what they feel and see through their eyes. I personally found Mathilde one of the best-written characters I’ve ever seen. This is a personal favorite of mine.
This also has a book club appeal, and I could just not stop thinking about it after reading it for weeks…
Verdict: I will not recommend it if you prefer books that have more action and plot twists, or if you don’t like lyrical, metaphorical writing with mythological elements. If you enjoy this kind of style though, this book will blow your mind. It is very a moving story with complex characters who are deeply flawed and the writing of Groff is to die for.