Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: The Furies

A few months ago I read Suzy McKee Charnas' 1974 novel, Walk to the End of the World which featured a strange and harrowing dystopian future wherein society was split along gender lines, with men ruling the world and women being used as beasts of burden and a necessary evil in terms of breeding.  Obviously things in this world did not work out very well for anyone. 

Last month I read the 1978 followup Motherlines, which focesd on the lone female survivor of the first book (sorry for the 40-year-old spoiler, but reviewing the third book in a series is tricky without referring to the earlier books), and her experiences in the all-female societies beyond the male-dominated holdfast.

The third book in the series, published 11 years after Motherlines, is The Furies, which finally brings the women from beyond the Holdfast back to this bizarre slaved-based society to free the women trapped there.  This book is filled with a lot of pain and anger; yes there are many other elements in it, but as I read my way through the very logical events that happened as an invading force moves against a society in collapse, I kept thinking of the introduction to Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places in which he stresses that more than any of the countries he covers in his book, the most dangerous places in the world are actually anywhere where democracy has been given to a society in the last six months, as blanket pardons have not only released political prisoners, but also hardened criminals who may have perhaps strongly deserved to remain in the prisons where they had been kept.

In many ways The Furies was heartbreaking, as stories of people setting others free should work out well for all, but the author shows through strong emotion and character that pain doesn't simply go away if someone wishes it gone, and consequences can remain for generations.

An excellent read.

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