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The Furies

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
"The Furies shares the same virtuosic proseof (Hobhouse's) earlier fiction and at the sametime moves beyond it, to become a sad,beautiful--and profoundly affecting--meditation on love anddeath and family."--The New YorkTimes ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Anchor (first published October 1st 1992)
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May 28, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Amer Ahmad
Shelves: own, covers, nyrb, fiction

Hobhouse's lyrical writing can't rescue her story from irrelevance. She never convinces us that this - the story of her childhood with a beautiful but sometimes inattentive and vacant mother whose love is alternately distant and suffocating; a sometimes genteel, sometimes borderline squalid poverty in Manhattan apartments; a fortuitous Oxford education, a series of boyfriends and lovers, a marriage to a wealthy Brit that falls apart, her mother's depression and suicide, her own illness - is a st
I didn't much care for Dancing in the Dark, but my admiration of NYRB Classics convinced me give Hobhouse another chance.

The book is elegant and well into the last section does not scan like a draft that needed more time from its author. The first section of the book detailing her family's history was the most worthwhile, everything related to Helen was sterile. No matter how much emotional distress Helen was going through, the childhood mortification, the struggles with her parents and herself
Apr 26, 2008 Flora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, 2008
It's considered a novel, but "The Furies" is barely-veiled autobiography, published after the author's death. Janet Hobhouse is a beautiful writer -- there's an immodest loveliness to her prose that's reminiscent of Elizabeth Bowen or Rebecca West -- but elevating this book to "novel" status was a gesture of misplaced ambition. "The Furies" is a fairly standard account of a young woman's relationship with her troubled mother and intellectual and sexual coming-of-age, and while its lyrical self-a ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unflinching and powerful autobiographical novel.
Sep 01, 2012 Lisetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ho sempre pensato che per uno scrittore il libro pi difficile da affrontare sia quello dedicato alla propria vita, perch inevitabilmente si ritrova costretto a fare i conti con se stesso. Ne sono convinta ancor pi dopo aver terminato questo libro di Janet Hobhouse. Un memoriale -cos viene definito, nella breve e bellissima introduzione, da Philip Roth- attraverso il quale , la scrittrice ripercorre la sua vita, nel momento in cui di fronte allinevitabile punto di arrivo, decide coraggiosamente d ...more
This text has it moments, but to tell you the truth there are so many books out there just not sure its worth reading again I feel indifferent. Its not bad or good its just is. I can't go any further than that.
Feb 12, 2011 Sonya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Did not have the charm of any other NYRB reissues I've read. I couldn't muster much empathy for the text; it felt sterile. Moving on to Middlemarch.
Sep 11, 2012 Luann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brave. Devastating. Beautifully written. And unspeakably sad.
Sep 16, 2014 kp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure I have ever read such an uncompromisingly honest account of the struggle to overcome pain. Hobhouse delves into her own experiences with such unsentimental honesty that she leaves the reader breathless, yet does so with wit and startlingly evocative language. She was still revising it when she died, but I agree with the quotation from Philip Roth (who makes an appearance in the book as the older writer with whom Hobhouse had an affair) that the book is "a considerable moral as well ...more
May 20, 2008 Tess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nearly no one.
i received this book when i was 14 and i thought, "okay, looks good!" now, 14 years later, i just finished reading it. i love a good mother/daughter story, they tug at my heart and it gets all mushy and tearful... however, it took me about half of my life to drag through this book. it's not like the story is that bad, it's not like the writing is bad, it's just like it's a whole lot of words and not a whole lot of information; sentences that are page-long paragraphs. there is just so much descri ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
One of the best NYRB books I've read. It combined a vivid account of life in the early twentieth century with an affective narrative about womanhood and the ties that bind.
May 14, 2016 DilanAc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Painful. wonderfully written, but oh so painful
Aug 12, 2009 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Altho billed as a novel, this is really a thinly veiled memoir with changed names. The story follows the author/narrator's erratic yet sometimes joyful childhood in New York and her intense relationship with her beautiful, vivacious, yet troubled single mother and how their relationship later evolves. Not an easy read but well worthwhile. It's quite easy to pick out which character is her representation of Philip Roth!
This is quite well written and engaging but, as a memoir disguised as a novel, it follows the I grew-I developed-I changed formula without much of a compelling hook. A reader goes for a book like this mostly if s/he has some inherent interest in the subject but I didn't know Janet Hobhouse from shinola. Sure, now I do, but maybe I should have read her biography of Gertrude Stein instead.
Jan 14, 2016 Jeanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly honest and well-written book - the push and pull of family dynamics is portrayed so vividly that you understand where each character is coming from but have some empathy for each throughout the story. Such a shame Hobhouse died before finishing it, although that does not affect the storyline at all. I would have liked to read other things by her!
Jun 08, 2009 Riley marked it as did-not-finish
Recommended to Riley by: Suzie
Shelves: 2009
The writing was beautiful, in terms of the use of words and language, but the story just moves SO slowly. About 3/5 of the way through, I gave up. I skimmed the rest of the novel just to understand what happens, but I could not keep forcing myself to slog through (even though I wanted to, for Suzie's sake, since she recommended it to me).
i liked the book. you might think the story took a bit too long to unfold, but i think it covered such a long stretch of time, it was needed. i really enjoyed learning about new york from years ago and how this family (and i am sure many others) went from being very wealthy to almost destitute.
Wanda Brenni
Nov 02, 2011 Wanda Brenni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An author I didn't know; a book I picked up by chance; turbulent, exposive, raw well written full of grief and dysfunction, of love, of all the frailities that can surround a life, of those most close and that difficulty in connection.
Sep 21, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
More memoir than fiction, The Furies is an entirely unsentimental account of the frictions and bonds between mothers and daughters. This one leaves behind a big red mark and I mean that in a good way.
May 21, 2013 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donne, americana
l'ho comprato a scatola chiusa perché questa collana della bur mi piace smodatamente. è un libro autobiografico, duro, avvincente, tristissimo. è un libro che ho amato molto- per donne, ma non solo.
Elizabeth Bradley
so far, a strange amalgam of Mona Simpson, Darcy O'Brian, and "Gypsy" meets "Wonderful Town" - - I'm not in love and I so very much want to be...
Vicky Griva
Jul 15, 2014 Vicky Griva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely brilliantly written. Such a sense of self-awareness this books has, it is scary, breathtaking and somehow peaceful.
Camille Weatherholt
Archetypal linial dysfunction enveloped in beautiful prose, waxing with metaphors of the duality of existence.
A well written but sad, tragic memoir/novel written by Janet Hobhouse while she was dying of cancer.
May 12, 2011 Alastair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perceptive & beautiful memoir of a painful life. I suspect this one will stick with me.
Jan 25, 2013 Brandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenally eloquent and poignant. Too bad Hobhouse died unnecessarily young.
Jan marked it as to-read
May 19, 2016
Vincent Howl
Vincent Howl marked it as to-read
May 19, 2016
Liz M
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May 16, 2016
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NYRB Classics: The Furies, by Janet Hobhouse 6 20 May 29, 2014 03:05PM  
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“...there was almost no opinion, however nonsensical, that wasn't tolerated, at least for long enough for it to be delivered. But it wasn't just that, nor his charm nor eccentricity, his sometimes slovenly, sometimes stunning intelligence, that made him so attractive as a tutor; it was the utterly unfamiliar sensation one got, as a student, of his respect for, or at least well-performed interest in, what one thought.” 1 likes
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