ARC Review: THE HARPY by Megan Hunter (2020)

Genre: Adult Literary Fiction
Year Release: 2020
Source: NetGalley
Buy links: Bookshop | Unabridged Books | Barnes and Noble

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an ARC via NetGalley
Content warning: Blood play, suicidal ideal, infidelity, sexual assault (not depicted but heavily implied)

It took me a few days after finishing this one to figure out how I felt about it. On one hand, it is a literary fiction about someone getting cheated on. On the other hand, this one is from the point of view of the one being cheated on, and her evolving bitterness towards the factors that may or may not have contributed to the cheating, and her pre-motherhood love of harpies.

I was mesmerized by the simplicity of rage’s slowburn throughout this novel. The actions are simple, there isn’t too much going on as far as plot goes, even given the tight page count. The mother is cheated on, and she finds ways to deal with it.

One of the themes that this book explores is around the idea of retaliation. Her husband betrayed trust and bored into insecurities Lucy hadn’t even been aware of. She concocts plans for revenge, some of which do and do not come to fruition. But the bitterness drenches every sentence and interaction. There are no easy answers. There are things that feel good in the moment, things that end poorly, things that don’t start, and all of it is rooted in a deeply interior narrative. The anecdotes between chapters of Lucy’s relationship to harpies serve as perfect end caps.

The ending makes perfect sense, regardless of how literally you take it.

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