Thursday, January 26, 2017
Yeah, the nerve.
This may not have been the best book I've ever read (though even those books have been one-starred), but Lauren Groff did not make the National Book Award finalists by accident. Who are these people who one-star a book because they were disappointed by the ending or they didn't fall in love with the main character, or they didn't get the point? They're certainly not writers. There are 201 one-star reviews. It's mind boggling.
The opening of this novel is so beautiful. That first page is what made me take the book home. Usually, I do extensive research before investing my time in a book. For this, I read the opening, closed the book, and set it in the "to buy" stack.
The book is divided into two main sections: the first is Lotto, the second is Mathilde. The reader gets to see their love story from the perspectives of each. The first section drags in places and Lotto comes off as arrogant but deeply loyal. You get the sense that this union has its share of dysfunction, but it's real. Mathilde's section sheds new light on events that seemed somewhat pointless in Lotto's. The second part is much darker and makes you wonder if these people ever really knew one another. The way events are retold from another angle is so well-done.
Criticism that it's pretentious because of its many high-brow literary allusions and it's focus on affluent white people is accurate if those things bother you. But that's what three-star reviews are for.