Lucy and Jake live in a house by a field where the sun burns like a ball of fire. Lucy has set her career aside in order to devote her life to the children, to their finely tuned routine, and to the house itself, which comforts her like an old, sly friend. But then a man calls one afternoon with a shattering message: his wife has been having an affair with Lucy’s husband, Jake. The revelation marks a turning point: Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but make a special arrangement designed to even the score and save their marriage – she will hurt him three times.
As the couple submit to a delicate game of crime and punishment, Lucy herself begins to change, surrendering to a transformation of both mind and body from which there is no return.
Told in dazzling, musical prose, The Harpy is a dark, staggering fairy tale, at once mythical and otherworldly and fiercely contemporary. It is a novel of love, marriage and its failures, of power, control and revenge, of metamorphosis and renewal.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Harpy!
I have to level with you guys, I don’t know where to start, I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t know how I feel, I, I don’t know anything. Is this a story of empowerment or one of insanity? Or both, perhaps? Is it a drama, is it a thriller, is it contemporary fiction, is it domestic noir, is it mythology? Yes! Yes, it is all of that and more! And I loved it, I loved it so so much! I adore books that refuse to be crammed into one single genre box, books that take the best of multiple genres and bring them together in a glorious kaleidoscope.
The Harpy is about love and revenge, about crime and punishment, about destruction and self-destruction. It is about a woman who finds out her husband has been cheating on her, and she wants, nay, she needs to punish him. This woman has had a fascination with harpies all her life, and this particular action of punishing her husband for what he’s done brings out the harpy in her.
This is my first Megan Hunter novel, I did not know what to expect. I was drawn in by the title (I do love me some mythology) and the cover, especially once I’d noticed that little drop of blood sliding down the Y. What I got was a melting pot of genres, beautifully brought together by Ms Hunter’s absolutely stunning writing. I just couldn’t stop reading, the prose and the story itself got under my skin and now, months after I’ve finished it, The Harpy still haunts me, and I’m sure it will stay with me for a long time to come.
The Harpy is a rather short novel but it packs one hell of a punch. Will this be one for the masses, everyone’s sweetheart? Well, I’m not sure, I think it might not be appreciated by everyone, but if you’re looking for a unique and genre-defying novel with a strong female lead, I cannot recommend it enough!
The Harpy is out TODAY, get it while it’s hot!
Huge thanks to Camilla Elworthy @ Picador Books for the proof copy! All opinions are my own.