Book Review: The Furies – Natalie Haynes

The Furies coverTitle: The Furies
Author: Natalie Haynes
ISBN: 9781250048004
Pages: 304
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary:

Alex Morris has decided on a fresh start in Edinburgh after tragedy shattered her life. She’s conducting drama therapy sessions/classes at a school called “The Unit,” which plays host to troubled teens. Alex is at first intimidated by her strong students, and they sense her fear, but as she steers them towards the Greek tragedies, they begin to open up to her. But one of her students takes her lessons too seriously and becomes a danger to themselves and those around them.

Snapshot Review:

The Furies is an interesting take on the Greek tragedies with a confused character at its center. Alex isn’t exactly a strong person when this novel begins. She’s been shattered by what’s happened in her personal life and really is licking her wounds and cowering when the novel begins. The students sense her weakness and fear, but some of the more sensitive among them also realize that she is hurting. Even though Alex doesn’t realize this initial connection, her students give her a chance because of it, and it’s the relationships that she develops with them, and the way they bring one another out that are at the core of this novel.

Though advertised as a psychological mystery, The Furies doesn’t really fall into that category. From the beginning, it’s pretty clear who the perpetrator of the dangerous acts will be. The driving force of the book is seeing how that unfolds. It’s a quieter novel that you’d expect, and the frame around the novel proves to be more of an artifice than anything else, which is disappointing. It’s hard to get into any real detail about these aspects without spoiling the narrative, so I’ll just say that while this novel was interesting, I found it lacking in plot. The characters, however, were richly drawn and their relationships with one another were fascinating. If you enjoy character driven novels, especially those set in an academic world, you might be interested in this book.

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Comments

  1. I felt pretty much the same way you did about this one. I was hoping for something more exciting (since it was compared to The Secret History…) but was a little disappointed. But the characters were compelling enough to hold my interest throughout.

  2. I really enjoyed the Furies, though your arguments about it are valid. And a psychological thriller is was not (i’m glad). Perhaps I liked it more because I’m a recent import to Edinburgh and I like character driven novels set in an academic setting.

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