Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies is wonderful. Dizzying in its’ intensity and displaying both wit and a deft use of vocabulary, I truly enjoyed this novel.
Yet it is the author’s use of vocabulary that I found myself noting, particularly towards the beginning of the novel. Groff is not afraid to use big words. It is refreshing to see, and following are some of the words she used, and the way that she used them, which caused me to sit straighter and take note.
(All page references the following volume: Groff, Lauren. Fates and Furies. New York: Riverhead, 2015. Print.)
pleinair (adj.) of or relating to a branch of impressionism that attempts to represent outdoor light and air
But Mathilde was right to agitate for pleinair consummation.
exigency (n.) something that is necessary in a particular situation
The baby was exigency.
hallux (n.) the innermost digit (as the big toe) of a hind or lower limb
Goodness, he would lick her crown to hallux.
clerestory (n.) the upper part of a wall that rises above a roof and that has windows
During the day, high clerestory Windows shifted light from one to the next.
dendrite (n.) a branching treelike figure produced on or in a mineral by a foreign mineral
She plugged in the strand of Christmas lights that they had twined through the branches above, and the tree sparked into a dendrite.
caesura (n.) a usually rhetorical break in the flow of sound in the middle of a line of verse
He regarded Lancelot for a caesura and finally relaxed into an off-kilter smile.
prolix (adj.) using too many words
And then came the prolix period, when they did not stop talking.
anneal (v.) to heat and then slowly cool (metal, glass, etc.) in order to make it stronger
Something hot in her began to cool and, in cooling, to anneal.
bellicose (adj.) having or showing a tendency to argue or fight
She came downstairs to find that [the dog] had chewed on the rug, had left a mess of urine on the floor, was looking at her with a bellicose light in her eye.
vitiligo (n.) a skin disorder manifested by smooth white spots on various parts of the body
…the cashier watching her with open mouth, skin piebald with vitiligo
What’s your favorite word lately? Who is an author that you consider to use beautiful words and phrasing? Please let me know in the comments!