The Furies by Natalie Haynes

The FuriesThe Furies by Natalie Haynes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In her acknowledgements at the beginning of The Furies, author Natalie Haynes refers to this book as an attempt to create something of “merit.” I am glad that I began the novel with this concept in mind, and am happy to say that The Furies was both a compelling story, and a thought-provoking read.
The Furies tells the story of a young, female theater director, Alex, who is mourning the murder of her fiancée in London. Alex tries to make a new start by moving to Edinburgh and working with troubled youth. Her choice of subject, the Greek tragedies, resonates more deeply with her students than she could have hoped, and ends in deadly consequences which Alex never could have imagined.
The Furies is written in an accessible style, as we are privy to diary entries from one of the students, Mel, as well as to Alex’s perspective. Although the story is set in a school for troubled youth, and deals with themes of murder, abuse, and revenge, it manages to handle these things in a way that is thought-provoking, without leaving the reader feeling depressed.
If you’re considering reading this novel, the important thing to know is that it is more of a realistic, character-driven story, rather than a mystery thriller. Author Natalie Haynes is passionate about the Greek tragedies. She believes that the way in which Greek characters view life in extremes, killing family members, blinding themselves, seeking revenge even when it means their own destruction, is a “perfect fit” for the way it feels to be a teenager. At the end of the novel, Haynes includes an afterword in which she talks a little more about this idea, and discusses some of her own favorite Greek plays.
I really appreciated Haynes’ insights, and The Furies made me look at Greek tragedy in a new light. I’m now considering going to see a Greek play, which is something I never would have done before reading The Furies. In this way, I think Natalie Haynes has definitely achieved her goal of creating something of merit. Haynes has shown that plays written by people thousands of years ago are still relevant to human experience today. In this way, Haynes gives these ancient works of art new life, and I hope that her novel brings them to the attention of a new generation of readers.  I received an advance reader’s copy of The Furies from the publisher through NetGalley.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cleopatralovesbooks
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 13:17:28

    This is the second time I’ve seen a review for this book and even though it is different to my normal choice of reading I really want a copy. Thanks for a great review.

    Reply

  2. Hannah
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 16:30:02

    Thanks Cleo! I think you would like this. 🙂

    Reply

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