cover image The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice

The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice

Elizabeth Flock. Harper, $32 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-304880-5

Journalist Flock (The Heart Is a Shifting Sea) considers in this captivating examination of violence and power the lives of three women who “defended themselves in places where institutions failed to protect them.” Each woman, Flock writes, grew up in regions with “cultures of honor,” faced violence themselves, and “wielded violence” for survival. The first section follows Brittany Smith, who in 2018 faced trial after she shot and killed her rapist in Stevenson, Ala. The case leads Flock to investigate gender bias in America’s Stand Your Ground laws. The second section investigates India’s history of female bandits, focusing on Angoori Dahariya’s 2010s leadership of the Green Gang, a bamboo cane–wielding group of low-caste women who had suffered “domestic violence, dowry harassment, beating by in-laws, land-grabbing, police abuse, abandonment by husbands, molestation, rape, and more.” Flock’s third and final subject is Cicek Mustafa Zibo, who was 17 years old in 2013 when she joined an all-female Kurdish militia in northern Syria. Flock has a novelist’s knack for creating suspense, her reporting is thorough, and her prose is moving: “Whatever will happen, will happen, here or there.... I do what is true to me. Wherever there is war, I should be there,” she writes when representing Zibo’s perspective. This one will stick with readers. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Jan.)