Memorable Memoirs: Koren Zailckas’s “Fury”

Fury by Koren ZailckasIn the case of Fury, Koren Zailckas’ exceptional follow up to her best selling book Smashed: Story of a Drunken Childhood, the term “memoir” may be a bit of a misnomer. Although it does indeed chronicle many of her personal experiences, it is also a scholarly book that quotes and references numerous sources – very effectively.

The topic is anger. We are introduced to the author as she is flying back to the states after a failed relationship with a British musician – a devastating ending that came as a surprise to Zailckas. Wanting nothing more than to be left alone, she lashes out at a kindly elderly gentleman who sits next to her. So begins her quest to find out why anger has played such a major role in her life – but more the repression of it, rather than its expression.

Zailckas turns to various sources for answers and “fixes”: therapy, homeopathic remedies, yoga, and often, the existing literature on the topic. She allows us to see her intimate process, and in doing so, lands on some terrific insights. The chapters: Incitement, Anger Ignored, Anger Turned Inward, Anger Intellectualized, Anger Displaced Conniption and Aftermath, drive the narrative onward, as she peels away the layers of her discontent, and her struggles with being responsive to her own emotions, in a family that has various ingrained and frequently adversarial strategies for avoiding those emotions.

The book slowly (in the best way) works its way to a hopeful, cathartic ending, as Zailckas begins to make peace with herself and her loved ones. Her story is compelling, educational (I highlighted a third of the book!) and the prose is exquisite.

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  1. Sounds really interesting, I might have to pick it up. Am currently reading A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson~

  2. So that’s what it’s about! I was rather wondering what had you so entranced.
    I might have to borrow it from you…
    Is it age appropriate?

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