The Furies: Book summary and reviews of The Furies by Fernanda Eberstadt

The Furies
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Sep 2003,
    464 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Fernanda Eberstadt brings all her gifts of insight, feeling, and storytelling to bear on passion and the balance of power in marriage. She tells the story of a courtship of opposites, of a blissful love affair — and of how it turns into a marriage that helplessly self-destructs.

The place is Manhattan in the boom of the 1990s. Gwen Lewis thinks her life is perfect. She’s thirty, smart, high-achieving, single; she’s the director of an institute that’s helping post-Communist Russia democratize. She has family money, a condominium on the Upper West Side, and a suitable boyfriend, a banker.

Then she meets Gideon Wolkowitz. Gideon is an impoverished puppeteer who works in an anarchist squat on the Lower East Side: an impecunious sweet-talking huckster, a messianic dreamer, a seventies socialist throwback, a secular Jew. Gwen and Gideon fall desperately in love. Their sex is epic. Their love seems like a gift from the gods — destined to heal all wounds. Each is the child of a broken home; each fills the other’s unsuspected aching emptiness. The lovers hole up in Gwen’s apartment, feasting on stolen nights of ecstasy and confession.

Then Gwen gets pregnant and their romantic idyll is broken, and the angry ghosts of their ancestral pasts rise to claim them. Gwen is pulled into a Puritan devotion to work and motherhood that only a driven career woman or Massachusetts pilgrim could understand. Gideon, torn by his anger that Gwen has ended their sex life, by his native hatred of her "socialite" values and his love of the woman herself, begins to hear the call of shtetl ways and the synagogue. The reader watches helplessly as the divisive forces of money, worldly ambition, and self-will complete the shipwreck of Gwen and Gideon’s love.

A novel that wholly engages us by the depth of its understanding and the power of its storytelling.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"If the story is one that at first blush sounds familiar and even predictable, Eberstadt's no-mercy approach is unique and harrowing." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review.Eberstadt's mythic and piercing tragedy belongs beside the work of Franzen, Chabon, even DeLillo." - Booklist

"Unsparing...In a densely allusive, insistently metaphoric prose style, Eberstadt brilliantly employs a form of hectoring direct address to both her protagonists...[The] plot gains great depth from two exhaustively penetrating characterizations and from Ebersadt's virtual genius for ironically precise summary statement." - Kirkus Reviews

"Eberstadt's skills bring to mind the early A. S. Byatt (the darting, foxlike intelligence; the searing judgments), and her dissection of class differences has a physical urgency that lifts her characters above their schematic limitations. With psychological precision, she keeps her gaze—and ours—steady, as the lovers, through a combination of will and carelessness, tear themselves apart." - The New Yorker

"The novel's prose - taut, fresh and vividly descriptive - can be a positive delight. Like Tom Wolfe, Eberstadt is a precise and witty observer of life in Manhattan." - New York Times Book Review

"Fernanda Eberstadt is blessed with more gifts than any one writer should be. She saturates her novels with wantonly vivid imagery, creates characters more thoroughly realized than most people you know ...If you happen to be familiar with her chosen settings, whether hardscrabble New Hampshire or pampered New York, reconsidering them through her eyes can be a revelation." - The Washington Post

The information about The Furies shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Fernanda Eberstadt Author Biography

Fernanda Eberstadt was born in New York City on November 10, 1960. Her maternal grandfather was the poet Ogden Nash. As a child, Eberstadt spent summers in her grandparents' house on the New Hampshire seacoast. She recalls word-games at meals when Nash would teach his grandchildren new words, and then try to tempt them into alternate meanings. "One day, when I was about five, he taught me the word 'gullible', and the next day at lunch, asked me if it were true that 'gullible' was used to describe someone that seagulls considered a delicacy. She says that, "From my grandfather, I grew up thinking of the English language as this great saltwater-taffy voodoo doll that can stand a lot of teasing and contorting."

Her paternal grandfather was the investment ...

... Full Biography
Link to Fernanda Eberstadt's Website

Other books by Fernanda Eberstadt at BookBrowse
  • Rat jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

More Recently Published Novels

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

Most of us who turn to any subject we love remember some morning or evening hour when...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.