Melpomene's Reviews > Fury

Fury by Shirley Marr
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Jan 28, 11

Read in December, 2010

I’ve finally finished Fury, the debut novel by the fabulous and funky Shirley Marr: accountant by day and writer by day for Black Dog books. Marr weaves myth and media, fashion and friends, school and life, costume and drama, crime and punishment successfully and stylishly in this thriller of a book.

It’s a book I started months ago but unfortunately got sidetracked with end of year assessment and report writing, etc. As such I ‘m feeling a little bit unsatisfied with my reading experience and don’t feel I got the full force of the narrative structure.

Yes, it was powerful, as one would expect with a title like that, but without giving away too much,
(and leaving me little I can comment on) it’s set in a modern day, rich, gated community in a suburb named East Rivermoor that’s not quite placed as existing in the real world but is compared to Melbourne by characters at a party and sounds like somewhere in the States, despite the Australian colloquialisms.

It begins with the shocking and brutal confession by the main character:
“My name is Eliza Boans and I am a murderer.
I know. It’s pretty shocking, huh?
To think I actually had a better surname before my parents
divorced and my mother went back to her maiden name, taking
me kicking and screaming with her. See, the judge gave Dad the
Jag and gave Mum, well me. She spewed big time over that. But
seriously, unlike what that that other do-gooder Chaplain here thinks,
I didn’t just wake up one morning and say to myself, “what a lovely day,
I think I might go out and kill someone.”

The dialogue is sharp and stinging as you are slapped in the face with Lizzie’s venomous words. We read on to hear all about her interrogation by the police appointed doctor/anthropologist trying to discover why she did it but she doesn’t give away anything easily. She’s a tough, poor-little-rich-girl from a broken home with an absent lawyer mum. All the adult characters are typically absent, either physically as in the parents or mentally, as in the teachers who are unaware of what’s really going on in their curfew-controlled community. It’s a place eerily littered with the abused and discarded bodies of women in ditches. Most characters are like ghosts floating on the fringe of a society that lacks substance. Women are at the mercy of the men in control and of course there is a backlash when true justice is not delivered and the girls take matters into their own hands.

Lizzie’s the leader of her ‘gang’ of furies, the fragile Lexi and the follower, Marianne, who meter out punishment and put people in their place at the private school ‘The Priory’ where status and place matters most. It’s hard to like her at first as she’s cocky and coy but once the full story is revealed we are left with sympathy for a vulnerable but fiercely loyal friend with a strong sense of social justice. The primeval anger is palpable as the girls unleash their fury.

The narrative weaves in and out of present and past tense flashbacks which backfill the context, characters and events leading up to the shocking pivotal incident that provokes the revenge attack and lead to the climactic revelations and surprises which leave you with more questions than answers in the end.

Read this if you want to enjoy a modern take on crime and punishment, sex crimes & bullying, and who the true monsters in our society are.
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