I’m not quite sure what I’ve read – in the best of ways. I’ve had a glimpse into a marriage surviving totally on perception and lies. While Lotto is powered by his own perfect narrative, where he is a perfect creative husband with a devoted wife there to care for him, Mathilde is a mysterious unknown.
“What was this mania for adoration? Mathilde knew herself unworthy of the love of a single soul, and he wanted everyone’s love.”
Fates and Furies is split into two parts, Lotto and Matilde’s story of them and their marriage. Lotto is universally adored, a puppy needing stability and constant affection. The sort of person no one can hate, but you’re never quite sure why. He thinks she is a feminist, because he loves women, but could not cope with any situation other than Mathilde being in the background supporting him. Following his dream and his desires. He assumes this is what Mathilde wants.
Mathilde is a complicated character, and Lotto never really knows her. Abandoned by her parents, shifted from one relative to another, she is never loved and believes she is somewhat evil. She adores Lotto, feeds off his positivity and love, afraid of his abandonment. She acts for him, in ways he does not know and would not like, just to keep him as hers. She fosters Lotto’s perfect narrative, allows him to perpetuate it.
Mathilde is a time bomb of repression, just waiting to explode. I wasn’t sure what was more depressing, that she felt men were her only road to security, or that she had climbed so far within herself that she didn’t know how to define who she was without Lotto.
The novel reminded me of a Greek tragedy – no matter what action could be taken to prevent it, something bad was going to happen. There are mini-adventures, interludes, it spans many years and bad things happen along the way.
I wonder now, what would have happened if either knew the truth about the other? Lotto didn’t respect real women, he needed his narrative, an epic love for him mirroring that of a mother. Mathilde was able to play this part, all she ever wanted was stability and love – though this was never able to be achieved conventionally. Could they have fixed each other? Or did the length of their marriage depend on the fairytale they constructed?