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Fury - Shirley Marr Fury is a book that lingers. It leaves a trail of questions in the wake of its final pages, and I have to say that this was one of my favourite things about it, the fact that the characters and their story stayed with me after the last words. In Eliza Boans, Shirley Marr has created a narrator that alternately holds the reader at arms length, then draws them close. There is an unsteadiness to the relationship we build with Eliza as her narrative unfolds, uncertain whether or not to trust her. She says it upfront, on the first page: she is a murderer. And yet there is much more to it than that. She can be repugnant at times, sympathetic at others. She is reprehensible, fierce, loyal, and somehow always seems to have part herself turned away from the reader. And this is what made her story so gripping for me, this need to try to see her completely, to form the whole picture as Marr gradually provides the pieces.Eliza, leading what initially appears to be her merry band of uber-bitches, pulls us into her home of East Rivermoor. This community feels gated and shut off in more than just the literal sense. This is not a typical Australian suburb, rather it has an kind of alternate-reality feel, almost Burtonesque with its brightly coloured houses and unsettling apparent tranquillity. Once I’d checked my expectations at the door, I found myself enjoying this strange, vaguely sinister world. It provides a vivid backdrop for the unfolding of the dark, twisted plot. With the exception of Eliza’s admission on the opening page, we are dropped into her story blind, to experience events as she chooses to reveal them, filtered through her perspective. Yet there is a creeping sense of foreboding from the very start. There are flickers of foreshadowing that can’t quite be pinned down, that add to the darkening atmosphere of the story as the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, blur into various shades of grey. In a similar way, Marr’s characters become more nuanced and dimensional as the story progresses. What appears to be a high school power struggle between the vain, the venomous and the vapid soon becomes much more complex as the characters interact and their history, actions and motivations are revealed. While I enjoyed the characterisations and the way the girls were developed beyond mere Mean Girl cardboard cut outs, I did initially find the dialogue a little jarring, which distracted me from totally settling into the story. This diminished somewhat as the plot progressed, and by the second half I was totally immersed and engaged in their story. Fury does not hand over answers on a platter, or tie up the ending with tidy explanations and a bow. However, it is a book that is all the more impactful for the questions it provokes, and the way it leaves the reader thinking about the characters and debating the conclusions we have reached. Writing this, I’m still wondering about my interpretation of the ending, thinking back through the pages to the hints and clues along the way, particularly in relation to one of the main characters. [spoilers removed]Intelligent and twisted, Fury was a grower for me, once I had settled into the world and the style of the writing. An engaging and thought-provoking read.