The Furies: Women, Vengeance, and Justice
On Sale: January 9, 2024
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.