She had no friends at college, and is thought of as an “ice queen” or worse.
She is glamorous, but people can’t decide whether she’s beautiful or “interesting-looking.” Temperamentally, the two seem opposed.
But the first part of the novel, at least, which glorifies and lays bare its golden hero, Lancelot Satterwhite, is consistently surprising and vital.
Lauren Groff’s new novel, “Fates and Furies” (Riverhead), resembles a bed that long marital use has unevenly depressed: it tells the story of an apparently successful marriage from two different perspectives, the husband’s and then the wife’s, and it explores the fierce asymmetry of the two tellings.
Essentially, the man’s view of things (a section titled “Fates”) is happy, open, naïvely victorious, and complacent; the woman’s (“Furies”) is secretive, damaged, less happy, and, accordingly, much less complacent.
But Lotto’s praise of her purity also has to do with the holy hygiene, the devoted erasure of Mathilde’s self-presentation.
One morning, we are told, “it struck him hard that she had no family at all”: The little she spoke of childhood was shadowed with abuse. How she’d been discovered for modeling by a gargoyle of a man on a train.