The Harpy

Grove. Nov. 2020. 208p. ISBN 9780802148162. $26. F
For Lucy, a freelance copywriter, and husband Jake, a university biologist, life with two young sons hums along predictably until Lucy receives a phone call informing her of Jake’s affair with the caller’s wife, an older colleague of Jake’s. What comes next is also predictable—the outrage, the apology, the tears, and the eventual remorse. But predictability flies out the window when a contrite Jake offers Lucy three opportunities for payback. To exact revenge, Lucy revisits her childhood obsession with and later academic interest in the harpy, a mythological creature that punishes men for their sins. The tension ratchets up as Lucy spirals downward. Short, spare chapters, interspersed with harpy folklore and memories of an abusive childhood, heighten the sense of dread that pervades Hunter’s intriguing take on revenge, which follows her debut, The End We Start From.
VERDICT This is a taut horror story wrapped inside a domestic drama of two people at war with each other. A scarily satisfying read. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/20.]

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