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The Furies: A Novel Hardcover – August 26, 2014

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A stirring psychological thriller." —People Magazine

"Cleverly plotted, cannily paced, and unafraid to pose questions that don't have easy answers, this accomplished psychological mystery  demonstrates the way that sometimes it may take being lost in the darkness to enable us to glimpse the light." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An addictive, dark and suspenseful—yet sensitive—debut about death, obsession and fate.” —Bookpage  

"A gripping first novel…impossible to put down." —Herman Koch, author of The Dinner

"A handsomely structured psychological mystery, and a moving exploration of grief."  —Lionel Shriver

"...Not only a gripping, can't-stop-turning-pages thriller, but also a beautifully drawn portrait of grief and how we find our way back to life...perfectly capturing the fraught and funny rhythms of a challenging classroom. I love it." —Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles

"Gripping and elegiac, funny, and achingly sad, Haynes' tale pulls you along like a river to the falls. Hypnotic." —Joss Whedon

"From the opening pages of the novel, the hook is in (we know a crime has been committed) and you can't wait to see where her psychological thriller is headed...The Furies feels essential and exciting at the same time."—The Times (UK)

“I stayed up all night to finish The Amber Fury. It's gripping and compelling, a real page-turner, written with humanity and warmth” —S. J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep

About the Author

NATALIE HAYNES is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie is a regular panelist on Radio 4’s Saturday Review and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest columnist for The Independent and The Guardian. The Furies is her debut novel.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (August 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250048001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250048004
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C Wahlman VINE VOICE on July 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Natalie Haynes creates such a real world saturated in Greek tragedy with relatable characters and haunting empathy in The Furies. Alex is still raw from a recent tragedy when she moves to Edinburgh to accept a teaching position at an alternative school. She will teach drama therapy to some misfits. This is so fitting, as she herself is a misfit in an an angst-ridden state of isolation. Set is mired in confusion: what is she supposed to do next, and more importantly, what is she capable of doing next? Alex is so stunted, she cannot move one why or another.

Her students are just as despondent and helpless. Luckily, they share a bond of wanting to escape their current paths and do so with Greek tragedy. The plays they read act as a foil for the current situations they are in, and this foil is too realistic. The drama of adolescence and anger prove to be the driving emotion for these teens, and unfortunately, for Alex was well.

Can anyone grow in this environment? Can Alex move past this mysterious tragedy? What is this tragedy?

Haynes provides wonderful glimpses of the past. She allows the story to develop organically. And the ambiguous, haunting nature of the past coaxes the reader to continue. All of this intrigue and foreshadowing propel this so try along, while the relationship between Alex and her students compels the reader as well. Will she really reach them? Can these students be saved?

This novel is so well written. The suspense is original and dynamic. The relationships and characters are developed and real. I found this book to be an exquisite example of excellent writing. It is an excellent read. I highly recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Marie on June 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book grabs you from the start! Could not put down even though I had an inkling of what was to come.

Written in alternating points of view from Alex and her pupil Mel, each character gains your empathy but for different reasons. Alex is grieving from past tragedy while simultaneously trying to give hope/direction to students who've been removed from traditional schools. Using drama, and specifically Greek tragedies, Alex tries to connect and earn the trust of her most challenging students - the fourth years.

I don't want to give too much away, but since finishing this book I can't stop thinking...about how much justice the legal system really provides, the sad situation so many children grow up in, and the ability to keep trudging along even when life gets tough.

Highly recommend for those who love suspense, realistic fiction, and thought-provoking content.

**This book was provided to me [free of charge] by the publisher, via Goodreads First Reads giveway. All opinions are solely my own.**
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Valentino on September 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pitched as a psychological thriller, The Furies: A Novel offers up a cast of wounded people, five difficult students and a damaged teacher. However, there's not much thrilling about it, not the writing that tends to dull and certainly not the ending that elicits a big, eh. If this were a thriller, the ending would have been different, an ending with a twist (one that many readers might expect and could write themselves).

In Edinburgh, a young woman, Alex, in her mid-twenties takes a job using drama therapy to help a group of teens (Ricky, Jono, Carly, Annika, and Mel) who have been booted from their proper schools for bad behavior. While she possesses scant teaching experience, she, until recently, had been an up-and-coming director in London. Then her world shattered when her fiancé was murdered attempting to break up a physical domestic dispute. The story focuses on her slowly shedding her grief and entering back into life and the students discovering they are intelligent and valued with futures. She accomplishes the latter by having them read and discuss a variety of classic Greek tragedies, all featuring unresolvable moral dilemmas, or, more pertinent to the novel, dilemmas that can be decided any number of ways. Over the course of the term, she develops an attachment to them and shares a bit too much information about her personal life. One student attaches herself to Alex in an abnormal way that isn't readily apparent until deeper into the tale. She also, from the beginning, alerts readers that something terrible happened. In fact, she does this so many times in the first fifty pages you feel bludgeoned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I originally posted this as a five-star review, but mature reflection has prevailed. I read it with eager enjoyment, but admit that part of that was personal. The novel is set in Edinburgh, which is a city I know well. The protagonist, Alex Morris, is a theater director, which is my own original profession. And, like me, she teaches drama to young people. Though not young people that I would ever attempt to engage. At the beginning of the book, she accepts an invitation from a former mentor to conduct drama therapy sessions at Rankeillor, a privately-funded school for children thrown out of the state school system because of behavioral difficulties. The class we hear most about is her oldest group, a quintet of fifteen-year-olds, two boys and three girls. Alex decides to challenge them with the Greek tragedies, not acting so much as discussing the moral problems that they raise. And I am a sucker for stories featuring a gifted and caring teacher.

When the novel opens, however, there are hints of both a back-story and what you might call a forward story. The main reason that Alex flees her job in London (at the Royal Court Theatre, no less) and moves to Edinburgh is to escape the memories of her fiancé, a young lawyer who has been unexpectedly killed; we will learn more about this as the novel unfolds. And there is the suggestion that she is assembling a narrative of events to prepare for an eventual court case. What this case is, who will be on trial, and what Alex's role in it will be, is something that we do not find out until much later. But hanging over the entire novel is the idea that even study of the ancient classics can impinge on the contemporary world, and the best-intentioned teaching can end in tragedy.
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