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The Furies

par Janet Hobhouse

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A SELECTION OF THE LOST BOOKS CLUB An exhilarating, fiercely honest, ultimately devastating book, The Furies confronts the claims of family and the lure of desire, the difficulties of independence, and the approach of death. Janet Hobhouse's final testament is beautifully written, deeply felt, and above all utterly alive.… (plus d'informations)
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» Voir aussi les 14 mentions

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Janet Hobhouse was still writing The Furies when she died of ovarian cancer in 1991, at the age of 42. The book is simultaneously a memoir and a novel, with the protagonist Helen drawn very directly from Hobhouse’s life. She and her mother (Bett in the novel) were products of a strong matrilineal line, devoid of supportive men, and their relationship was unusual and intense. Bett and Helen lived in reduced financial circumstances, causing Helen no end of social difficulties during her school years. And yet she made her way from New York to Oxford, and then into a successful writing career.

But that success was tempered by dysfunctional relationships. Helen is continually restless, moving from one place to another in the blink of an eye. She has a tendency towards on again, off again relationships with men. She never quite achieves independence from Bett; they were very close, and Bett was also very needy. And yet the evolution of their relationship drew me in, especially in the latter part of the novel. I also found the last chapter -- in which Hobhouse/Helen announces her cancer diagnosis and contemplates her inevitable death -- very moving.

While The Furies is not an easy read, it’s one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jun 23, 2020 |
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, while everything related to Helen herself was sterile. No matter how much emotional distress Helen was going through, the childhood mortification, the struggles with her parents and herself, the romances, they felt like self-pitying anecdotes (which they apparently are) which failed to even gain my empathy, let alone sympathy.

The craft is there, certainly, but I can neither enjoy or learn from it. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
The biggest attraction of Janet Hobhouse's account of growing up poor in New York City, and how, from those humble beginnings, she got herself to Oxford, and made herself a writer is the prose. It's nice to read such frankly exuberant writing from a time and place when a more austere mode was preferred. Oddly, her mother's suicide, which, one assumes, was intended to be one of the book's central events, makes for the most skim-worth reading: other people's grief, it may be, is just not that interesting. I'll place it on the shelf next to Alix Roubaud's journals.
  dcozy | May 7, 2011 |
3 sur 3
[A] sad, beautiful—and profoundly affecting—meditation on love and death and family.
ajouté par ariastetae | modifierNew York Times, Michiko Kakutani
 

» Ajouter d'autres auteur(e)s (2 possibles)

Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Janet Hobhouseauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Merkin, DaphneIntroductionauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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A SELECTION OF THE LOST BOOKS CLUB An exhilarating, fiercely honest, ultimately devastating book, The Furies confronts the claims of family and the lure of desire, the difficulties of independence, and the approach of death. Janet Hobhouse's final testament is beautifully written, deeply felt, and above all utterly alive.

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