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.
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.