The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice (Hardcover)

The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice By Elizabeth Flock Cover Image

The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice (Hardcover)

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“Arresting, deeply reported. . . . a patient reporter who embeds with her subjects long enough to write about their inner worlds with authority and nuance. . . . The Furies is deeply respectful of its subjects’ autonomy, including their self-justifications and mistakes. Flock largely withholds judgment, and her work is richer and more troubling because of it.” Washington Post

Renowned journalist and author of The Heart is a Shifting Sea Elizabeth Flock investigates what few dare to confront, or even imagine: the role and necessity of female-led violence in response to systems built against women.

In The Furies, Elizabeth Flock examines how three real-life women have used violence to fight back, and how views of women who defend their lives are often distorted by their depictions in media and pop culture. These three immersive narratives follow Brittany Smith, a young woman from Stevenson, Alabama, who killed a man she said raped her but was denied the protection of the Stand-Your-Ground law; Angoori Dahariya, leader of a gang in Uttar Pradesh, India, dedicated to avenging victims of domestic abuse; and Cicek Mustafa Zibo, a fighter in a thousands-strong all-female militia that battled ISIS in Syria. Each woman chose to use lethal force to gain power, safety, and freedom when the institutions meant to protect them—government, police, courts—utterly failed to do so. Each woman has been criticized for their actions by those who believe that violence is never the answer.

Through Flock’s propulsive prose and remarkable research on the ground—embedded with families, communities, and organizations in America, India, and Syria—The Furies examines, with exquisite nuance, whether the fight for women’s safety is fully possible without force. Do these women’s acts of vengeance help or hurt them, and ultimately, all women? Did they create lasting change in entrenched misogynistic and paternalistic systems? And ultimately, what would societies in which women have real power look like?

Across mythologies and throughout history, the stories of women’s lives frequently end with their bodies as sites of violence. But there are also celebrated tales of women, real and fictional, who have fought back. The novelistic accounts of these three women provoke questions about how to achieve true gender equality, and offer profound insights in the quest for answers.

ELIZABETH FLOCK is an Emmy Award–winning journalist whose work has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Atlantic, and on PBS NewsHour and Netflix, among other outlets. She is the host of Blind Plea, a podcast from Lemonada Media about criminalized survival. Her reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center, PEN America, and the International Women’s Media Foundation. Her first book, The Heart Is a Shifting Sea, won a Nautilus Book Award for books that inspire and make a difference. She lives in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063048805
ISBN-10: 0063048809
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: January 9th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English

"Intricately reported." — New York Times Book Review, "Editors' Choice"

"Sensitively reported. . . . There is a deep compassion in Flock's account." — The New Yorker

“Readers of Chanel Miller's Know My Name and Jon Krakauer's Missoula will be familiar with the shocking ways police departments, medical centers and courts sometimes treat rape victims. The Furies adds to that conversation, demonstrating how the justice system seems completely stacked against people who aren't `ideal victims’…. a powerful reminder not only of the difference individuals can make in larger struggles for justice, but also of the limits of their success.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Incisive. . . . In the hands of a less adept journalist, The Furies might read as a predictable, even formulaic feminist exposé. But Flock acknowledges the women’s fallibilities as readily as she does their strengths. . . . Flock clears space for opposing truths, demonstrating how many women embody myriad, simultaneous contradictions to survive. . . . Though Brittany, Angoori, and Cicek ultimately fall prey to systemic patriarchal forces, Flock’s work feels hopeful, even rebellious. Because, just as women confront similar challenges, so too can they stage analogous forms of resistance.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

“Flock fills each section of The Furies with heartrending moments….a powerful reminder not only of the difference individuals can make in larger struggles for justice, but also of the limits of their success.” — Waterbury Republican

"A captivating examination of violence and power…. Flock has a novelist’s knack for creating suspense, her reporting is thorough, and her prose is moving….This one will stick with readers.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Furies is a remarkable and important exploration—reported with deep rigor and care—of what justice looks like for women who have been stripped of power and are trying to reclaim it." — Rachel Aviv, author of Strangers to Ourselves

The Furies is a glorious excavation of women’s rage. But it is also a cautionary tale of how the world treats women who dare to fight back, to assert their rights, to scream into the dark void of endless discrimination and inequality. These three women will fill you with hope, despair, and yes, fury." — Rachel Louise Snyder, author of Women We Buried, Women We Burned and No Visible Bruises

"These stories of women's vengeance are both harrowing and thrilling. Rosa Parks' defiance was a carefully planned political act; these begin as the opposite--sheer rage. This gripping, inflaming book, itself an act of fury, shows how revenge can transmute into politics or be crushed by it." — Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help

"Women around the world are fighting back against their oppressors, and these powerful stories—conveyed with rigor and compassion—will leave readers fired up, furious and raring to join the cause." — Kirsten Miller, author of The Change

“Flock notes that the Furies of ancient Greek mythology, who tormented Orestes, were hideous and pitiless—the stuff of nightmares. Flock makes a compelling argument that women who stand up for them[1]selves are still seen in this same light….The women are drawn in shades of gray, and that is what makes The Furies so powerful. Brittany, Angoori and Cicek are not mythical figures, but ordinary, flawed humans who fight for their lives, their dignity and justice—despite the cost.” — BookPage

“Arresting, deeply reported. . . . a patient reporter who embeds with her subjects long enough to write about their inner worlds with authority and nuance. . . . The Furies is deeply respectful of its subjects’ autonomy, including their self-justifications and mistakes. Flock largely withholds judgment, and her work is richer and more troubling because of it.” — Washington Post

“Three women pursue justice in this powerful account of what happens when institutions do not protect them. Journalist Flock (The Heart Is a Shifting Sea, 2018) brings the gripping stories of Brittany Smith, Angoori Dahariya, and Cicek Mustafa Zibo to life with vivid detail and in-depth research…. Her compelling narrative will resonate with those who seek to live in a more feminist, egalitarian society.” — Booklist

“Drawing on in-depth interviews over many years, Emmy Award–winning journalist Flock, author of The Heart Is a Shifting Sea, creates vivid profiles of three women who responded to abuse with violence and vengeance. . . . Stirring narratives of defiance.” — Kirkus Reviews

"The Heart Is a Shifting Sea is an intimate look at life in India, yet its intricately reported, novelistic portraits of marriage will resonate regardless of where you live. This book will keep you up reading deep into the night; it will make you ignore your loved ones, shirk your responsibilities. It is that good." — Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author

"Absorbing...An eye-opening exploration of how tradition and star-studded dreams shape love in modern India." — Kirkus Reviews

"Because Flock goes deep, rather than broad, in exploring the various customs of marriage and parenthood in India, she makes readers feel as though they are peering through a window into these couples' lives...[A] beautifully rendered, intricate, and human exploration of love and marriage in Mumbai." — Library Journal

"Easily the most intimate account of India that I've read, and of value to anybody that believes in love and marriage." — Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City

"Elizabeth Flock has invented a new way of telling a love story. It's part journalism, part true fable, and it takes you deep inside a country...I couldn't stop reading it." — Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author

"Flock approaches the histories, hopes, dreams, and disappointments of her middle- and upper-middle-class couples as a reporter, not a storyteller, and the book is better for it, steering clear of caricature and sentiment, and letting each of her subjects emerge in the details of his or her own circumstances." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Remarkable...Deeply reported, elegantly written, and profoundly transporting...A provocative and exciting meditation." — Katie Roiphe, author of The Violet Hour

"These three marriages, without the Bollywood polish, offer an unforgettable look at both the risks and rewards of real-life romance." — Booklist