Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Furies by Natalie Haynes

What They Say....After losing her fiancĂ© in a shocking tragedy, Alex Morris moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Formerly an actress, Alex accepts a job teaching drama therapy at a school commonly referred to as "The Unit," a last-chance learning community for teens expelled from other schools in the city. Her students have troubled pasts and difficult personalities, and Alex is an inexperienced teacher, terrified of what she’s taken on and drowning in grief.

Her most challenging class is an intimidating group of teenagers who have been given up on by everyone before her. But Alex soon discovers that discussing the Greek tragedies opens them up in unexpected ways, and she gradually develops a rapport with them. But are these tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge teaching more than Alex ever intended? And who becomes responsible when these students take the tragedies to heart, and begin interweaving their darker lessons into real life with terrible and irrevocable fury?

Natalie Haynes' The Furies is a psychologically complex, dark and twisting novel about loss, obsession and the deep tragedies that can connect us to each other even as they blind us to our fate.

What I Say....Just the title of this book caught my eye, because I love mythology and Greek
tragedies.  So title and cover did a great job of making this reader stop to take a closer look. 

Alex is a grief stricken woman who is trying to find a fresh start, or at least a new place to exist, when she comes to Edingburgh to teach dramatherapy to some troubled kids at a school known as the Unit. 

One of her classes is made up of five teenagers that everyone else has either given up on or are afraid of.  It turns out they might be a little more on the ball than Alex is.

I kind of liked how the author let the story unfold, you didn't know for a long time what tragedy had struck Alex and her fiancee, where she was going on her mysterious Friday train rides, and through journal entries, the deepening obsession one of her students has with uncovering her secrets.

Alex decides to use the Greek tragedies to engage her students in discussion.  They become interested and actually begin participating in discussion of patricide, matricide, incest, and revenge.  You know, the usual things you should be discussing with troubled teens.

Alex is so buried in grief that she is just going through the motions of interacting with these kids, and doesn't realize that one of them will end up acting out in way that makes Alex part of her own tragedy.

Food for thought....if Alex felt that her student was so deserving of a second chance and shouldn't pay for her crime, did it ever occur to her that her fiancee's attacker had people thinking the same way of him?

I really enjoyed this book, it felt completely unusual in the storytelling.  Definitely would recommend.

I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.

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