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The Amber Fury Hardcover – 6 Mar 2014

63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (6 Mar. 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1782392750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782392750
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Natalie Haynes is a writer, broadcaster, reviewer and classicist. She was once a stand-up comic, but retired when she realised she preferred tragedy to comedy. Always keen to be paid for what she would be reading anyway, she judged the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2010, The Women's Prize for Fiction in 2012, and the Man Booker Prize in 2013. The Amber Fury is her first novel.

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Review

Haynes' debut is not only a gripping, can't-stop-turning-pages thriller, but also a beautifully drawn portrait of grief and how we find our way back to life. Along the way, she offers a paean to Classics and teaching, perfectly capturing the fraught and funny rhythms of a challenging classroom. I loved it. --Madeline Miller, author of THE SONG OF ACHILLES



Gripping and elegiac, funny and achingly sad, Haynes' tale pulls you along like a river to the falls. Hypnotic. --Joss Whedon, creator of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and screenwriter of TOY STORY

About the Author

Natalie Haynes is a writer, broadcaster, reviewer and classicist. She was once a stand-up comic, but retired when she realised she preferred tragedy to comedy. Always keen to be paid for what she would be reading anyway, she judged the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2010, The Women's Prize for Fiction in 2012, and the Man Booker Prize in 2013. The Amber Fury is her first novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Emotionally disturbed children and Greek tragedies. Does this seem like a good mix? That is just one of the disturbing aspects of this novel that helps to make this a book that is difficult to believe. A young inexperienced woman, who has just been through her own great tragedy and is still mourning, is asked to teach emotionally disturbed teenagers. Now, put all of this together, and you may wonder how did this all occur and why.

We find Alex, the young woman with the recent tragedy, facing her first day of class with these disturbed children. She is not a teacher,but was an actress. She is unprepared for the 5 angry, disturbed teens who enter her basement classroom. Alex realizes she is wrong for this class,but her old school mentor needs her. She decides to teach drama to these children and starts with a Greek tragedy. As things progress and as things get out if control, she finds her mourning for her lost lover, has transcended, and she has made the most prolific mistake of her life. Never mind these poor young teens.

The writing does tend to draw you in, but it also is redundant and tiring. I found myself skipping pages. Details of how a room looks and observations of those around Alex did not liven the reading enjoyment. What we know is that tragedies abound, we don't know exactly what has occurred until later. We read the pages of a diary and Alex's interpretations of events. Very deep and dark,but not thrilling.

Not a Recommended For Me. prisrob 09-07-14
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Amber Fury* begins with a young woman, Alex, starting a new job in Edinburgh as she grieves for her fiance,recently killed near their London home. Unable to cope with returning to her professional life as a promising theatre director, she takes a job teaching drama in a unit for teenagers excluded from the school system.

When her most difficult group scorns 'dramatherapy' and 'talking about feelings' she decides they will study a Greek tragedy instead, only to find that there are uneasy parallels between the grand themes of the likes of Sophocles and the lives of the sullen, wary and frequently manipulative students - and with her own life too.

If you come to The Amber Fury looking for something like The Secret History, you've picked up the wrong book - if anything, it reminded me much more of Notes On A Scandal. The story is told partly in flashback by Alex, with sections from a pupil's diary giving an alternative perspective, and Natalie Haynes does a remarkably good job of evoking the sinister nature of obsession and the rawness of bereavement. In particular, she is particularly good at capturing the uneasy psychological no-man's-land between an ordinary interest and a darker, more disturbing obsession - that wavering boundary that divides the realms of normality and a more disordered, dangerous way of thinking.

I do suspect that some readers might tire of the passages in which Alex and her class discuss Greek drama: although they certainly add something essential to the novel, I'm not sure they needed to be quite so in depth. But there's a grim inevitability about the way events unfold, which somehow makes it impossible not to keep turning the pages. The Amber Fury is is never contrived - although certainly the people and motives of the book are full of complexities - but also a sharply observant and unusually thoughtful take on the psychological thriller, as it begins to tip over into revenge tragedy.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Suze @ Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams on 27 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Alex needs a new start. She moves from London to Edinburgh, because she's heartbroken. Her fiancé died in a terrible way and she has to learn how to live with the grief. Her friend Robert has offered her a teaching job. As a former director of plays she hasn't got much teaching experience, but as she could use a distraction she's giving it a try. The Pupil Referral Unit, or the Unit, is a school for troubled children. Working with difficult teenagers could be a challenge, but there's one class in particular that's exceptionally hard to teach. Alex tries to get them to read plays. She discusses Greek tragedies with the children. She has a bit of success with them which is great at first. The question is if it stays like that or if the children will now create problems in a different kind of way? The children definitely bring more trouble than she's bargained for.
The reader knows something has happened with Alex and her pupils and I wanted to find out what as soon as I could. The Amber Fury fascinated me from beginning to end. Alex is a sad woman, but there's also some hope. She has a strong personality and she's so smart and kind. I wanted to find out what happened to her in London as well. This is a book filled with mysteries and I couldn't wait to see them unravelled. The best part of the story for me was the dialogue Alex had with her pupils about the Greek tragedies. Seeing problems from many different angles made it really interesting and it looked so realistic. It was almost like I was back at school again, Alex got me thinking and I tried to form my own opinions about the questions she raised. The Amber Fury is magnificent, it's such a great book! I enjoyed it very much and am happy that I had the chance to read it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TripFiction on 27 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover
The Edinburgh described in the book is dark and forbidding, exposing a side that those who know the city can relate to. Old town buildings, Victorian closes and the ever present Arthur’s Seat are written of with knowledge. Glimpses of a more vibrant Edinburgh during the yearly Festival lighten the city, allowing the reader to know that there is more than one side to this glorious city, full of history, pomp and ceremony.

It is a book where the author weaves tales within tales, slowly exposing her characters and building up the readers’ expectation and understanding of what the main plots are. Greek mythology mingles side by side with a modern tale of anguish and despair. A search for answers to questions that cannot be answered only implied as the reader gets further and further into the pages of the book.

Complex characters whose personalities slowly emerge: Alex who is in mourning for her fiancée; Mel a troubled teenager whose deafness is superbly described in a manner that gives the reader an insight into the world of those without perfect hearing; Carly her friend and sometimes confidant; the troubled Annika who rebels against her family and life away from her native Stockholm; Juno and Ricky, products of their environment.

Other characters lend to the complexity of the book, urging the reader to delve further in if only to discover where they lie in the ever emerging twists and turns of the storyline.

The book is set in a Pupil Referral Unit, an educational establishment for troubled youngsters who, for one reason or another, are unable to attend mainstream schools due to their anti-social behaviour.
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