Saturday, January 6, 2024

The Fury

The Fury by Alex Michaelides
1/16/24; 320 pages
Celadon Books

The Fury by Alex Michaelides is a clever literary novel full of psychological suspense told by an unreliable narrator. It is very highly recommended and sure to be one of the best novels of the year.

Lara Farrar, a beloved actress, invites friends for a get-away weekend at her home on a secluded Greek island. Guests include her second husband Jason Miller, son Leo, friend and actor Kate Crosby and playwright Elliot Chase, the unreliable narrator. Also on the island are Agathi, Lana's assistant and cook, and Nicola, the caretaker of the island. That a murder takes place is known from the start. Then our narrator informs us that this is not a classic locked-room mystery, this is, if you will, a "whydunit" that explores the characters involved and why they act the way they do. It is the story of a murder, but also, our narrator explains, a story for anyone who has ever loved.

First things first. The writing is exquisite. You need to know this is more of a literary novel that takes the form of a classic murder mystery at the beginning until it changes to another genre... and then another. The tale is told in five acts, as if it were a play. This format worked well for oh-so-unreliable narrator Elliot. As he invites the reader to sit down to a drink and listen to his tale, Elliot has complete control over the story and how it is told, as well as what he conveniently leaves out or edits later. His storytelling regarding the events is fiendishly clever.

With each new modification, revision, and updating the recounting of what happened, the narrative becomes even more tense because of the unpredictability. Elliot is sure that this is his play, another pièce de résistance showcasing his abilities. That, along with the focus on personalities, relationships and flaws of each character makes the novel not so much a thriller, but certainly a novel of intense psychological suspense. 

I loved the ties to Greek mythology and how many of the events mirrored a Greek tragedy. The Fury or Menos refers to the wind whipping around the Greek island's with such furiosity that no one can venture out on the water until the fury dies back. The island is called Aura after a wind goddess.

Disclosure: My complimentary review copy was courtesy of Celadon Books via NetGalley.

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