I've been lost in a story, lost in a stories actually, intermittently layered through a busy few days. The story is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, a novel that I have been savoring, often slowly, rolling it around in my mind in secret stolen moments much the way one savors a truffle, letting the sensation slowly coat the taste buds, and imprint itself into memory; at other times reading greedily, hungrily, offended at the daring of the world to intrude.
It is the story of a marriage, in one sense, and of all marriages in another, although of course specifics will vary, and one may be even driven to think "no! no! This is not me! I do not know people like that!", except that, if one is this reader, one finds, the more she gets into the book, the more she does in fact know people exactly like these. Perhaps less extreme, perhaps less archetypical, but perhaps not, because we also all have hidden selves, hidden darknesses, hidden voids waiting to be filled.
The novel is a story of a relationship in which each person becomes whole through the relationship with the other, "in they came integers, out they came squared", while at the same time never really knowing the other. It is told in two sections, Fates, and later, Furies, just as a relationship is built upon two distinct and separate points of view. In order to begin to understand either, or the relationship as a whole, you must read both. It is a difficult technique, and it is done well. The book may be too literary for some, the characters too much the embodiement of their stories for others, but the novel itself is fabulous, written in beautiful prose, often stormily ambitious, often raw with pretention, as are the characters, as are each of us at some point in our lives although we may prefer to think not. It is a story of passion and deception, betrayal and loss, and ultimately redemption. It is a book that is not always easy to read, although it draws the reader in deeply, but also not easy to forget.
This weekend I also went to a concert, part of the Knoxville Symphony's pops series. The concert was a performance of the music from Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, with the relevant film segments shown on screen while the music was performed. It was, of course, wonderful. I remembered seeing Fantasia when I was quite young, and I wondered as I watched and listened, about my lifelong love of music, and about my propensity to read stories into music..... was Fantasia at the root of this propensity, or did it simply open a new door to an already imaginative child who loved to read, loved stories, loved music, giving her a new way to create new worlds within her imagination?
I have to admit that I had never seen Fantasia 2000. It was visually stunning, and modern, and I would have loved to share it with my grandson. (Note to self, this may be something to watch and share with family.) There were, in fact, a couple of pieces from this newer film that made no sense to me and with which I struggled. Oh they were clever and beautiful and I understood the stories they told, but they jarred with my own internal representation of the music. Perhaps my own preferences and tastes were too far shaped by that earlier magic. And perhaps seeing and sharing again, with a younger generation, will create new insights, new memories, and open yet other doors.
It was also the weekend of my grandson's school play, The Music Man, Jr. version. So very ambitious for a small elementary school. So joyously performed. Each year, the school production grows better, each year the children shine a little brighter.
So many temptations. So many escapes. So many versions of ourselves to be found each of them, in the way the magic of story carries us away and shows us something of the world, our own history in it, and the way our own perceptions grow and are formed. So many opportunities to escape the routine and share something magical with others.
Stories interleaved with stories.
Book Cover: Lauren Groff Fate and Furies, courtesy of Amazon. here.
Fantasia Live photo courtesy of Knoxville News Sentinel, here.