I read this book last fall, after seeing it recommended on the Instagram feed of my favorite bookstore. Once I picked it up, I hardly put it down... I went deep in this one.
The novel is about marriage, but more specifically it's an examination of personal perception, how outsiders perceive a couple to be, how the couple perceives themselves to be, and how they see each other.
The beginning of the novel is told from the point of view of Lotto, the male protagonist. You get a good chunk of his childhood, and more importantly insight into his relationship with his mother, aunt, and sister. Lotto marries Mathilde, who, by all accounts of friends and family (well, save Lotto's mother), is a catch.
Much of the novel follows how Mathilde supported Lotto's acting and eventually playwriting career, how in love Lotto and Mathilde are, describes their various friends and family relationships, and how difficult marriage and life can be. I got about 300 pages in to the book and felt confident I knew what this book was about, and loved it. Then the narrative changed to Mathilde's point of view and completely blew me away.
There is so much disparity between the two points of view, even though they shared their lives. Despite the discrepancy, there is a glorious beauty in both perceptions of their marriage and I truly loved it, in all its harsh reality. People are imperfect, therefore marriage is imperfect... but it's incredibly rewarding. The end of this book is compelling, depressing, relatable, surprising... ugh - it's a lot. But I would definitely recommend it.