No Fury Like That
a novel by Lisa de Nikolits

978-1-77133-413-6
320 Pages
September 08, 2017
New Fiction All Titles Novel

$22.95

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No Fury Like That a novel by Lisa de Nikolits

No Fury Like That is a one-of-a kind literary thriller about life and death and the power of second chances. The novel takes you on a fast-paced, funny, adventurous ride, exploring love, the meaning of life, friendship, revenge, family and the transformation of a character under trying circumstance. No Fury Like That is about how a person can change and grow, and how different things will come to mean more than others; friendship is more important than success, love is more important than money and family is more important than power.

Julia Redner has to die before she can find these things out for herself – but is she really dead or is she being given the opportunity to rethink her life and solve an intricate puzzle of murders?

"Imagine if characters from The Devil Wears Prada got trapped in Sartre's play No Exit, where "hell is other people." No Fury Like That uses the lens of female souls stuck in purgatory to examine loss, love, rage, angst, and what there really is to live for. Alternately funny, melancholy, philosophical, and raunchy, it's a wild ride and another gutsy novel from de Nikolits."

— John Oughton, author of Death by Triangulation

"Suspenseful, surprising, thrilling and at times laugh-out-loud funny, No Fury Like That takes you on page-turning ride into another world—with Lisa de Nikolits's skillful writing keeping you belted in."

—Jacqueline Kovacs, Magazine Editor, Metroland Media

"Julia Redner seemed to have it all: stunning good looks, fantastic job, and enough money and perks to live in the style she'd grown accustomed to. But after it all went down and she finds herself in the afterlife, Julia realizes that she didn't have a single friend and now has a whack of unfinished business to settle. No Fury Like That is a cautionary tale about the perils of rising to the top at any cost. It's also a smart, satisfying read that's laced with humour, peopled with quirky characters and moves along at a fast clip. Readers will root for its plucky heroine, hoping she'll get a shot at a second chance. Another spellbinder from Lisa de Nikolits!"

—Rosemary McCracken, author of the Pat Tierney mysteries

"Afraid to die? Worse is yet to come! Julia, a ruthless business woman, suddenly finds herself in a Purgatory not remembering if she has died, or how. Left with no choice but to make friends with other lost souls, she never dreams she will become not only their saviour but also an avenger. In this brilliantly written book, you will be a holding your breath when Julia realises she should have made things right at the primary crime scene where it all started—Earth."

—Suzana Tratnik, author of Games with Greta

"No Fury Like That is de Nikolits at her best. She has taken the question, "What if you had a second chance?" and has given her imagination free rein to answer it. The result is a novel full of colourful characters who grapple with their lives, their deaths, and what it is to be human. By the final page the reader has not only witnessed Julia Redner's metamorphic journey, but has also taken a personal step forward."

—Liz Bugg, author of the Calli Barnow Mystery Series

"Lisa de Nikolits is one of my most fascinating discoveries of Canadian literature. Her writing is fresh and attractive, but deep in ideas and thoughtful provoking. No Fury Like That is an example of this duality: under the appearance of a paranormal story set in the Purgatory we face a brilliant psychological exploration of human soul questioning our certitudes about the world: Who we really are? How to find a responsibility about our past? What are the implications of our acts? Big questions presented through a captivating prose displayed in a perfect plot that catch the reader from the very beginning. De Nikolits knows how to combine the oppressive atmosphere of Beckett or Kafka with the contemporaneous forms of thriller-narrative, always with a touch of humor and sensibility. And of course, with an extraordinary capacity to capture the essence of human emotions."

—Miguel Angel Hernandez, author of Escape Attempt

Lisa de Nikolits is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed author of six novels: The Hungry Mirror, West of Wawa, A Glittering Chaos, The Witchdoctor’s Bones, Between the Cracks She Fell and The Nearly Girl (Inanna Publications). Her short fiction has appeared in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6; Maudlin House; Lynn Crosbie’s Hood; The Jellyfish Review; PAC’N HEAT (a Ms. Pac-Man noir collection); Mesdames of Mayhem’s crime anthology Thirteen O’Clock; and the Toronto Sisters In Crime’s anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3. Her poetry has been published in CWS/cf. She lives and works in Toronto.

No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits
reviewed by Ava Baccari
Hello! Magazine - October 12 2017

Julia never thought of herself as an in-betweener until she wakes up one day in purgatory. Her life on earth was built on extremes — money, power, an affair with the CEO at her ad agency. As she tried to piece together her not-so-fond memories, she finds refuge in a host of characters who help her navigate this strange place between heaven and hell, and from her heightened perspective, see where she went wrong. In this playful tome, the Toronto author explores an afterlife that isn't surrounded by pearly gates but instead ripe with second chances.

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No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits
reviewed by James Fisher, The Miramichi Reader - January 2017

"Each of us is a seeker, walking along Eternity’s Road, which has no beginning and no end."

—Sri Chinmoy

An apt quote to begin a review concerning a book that deals with aspects of eternity, and whatever your belief (or beliefs) are, you may have to suspend them temporarily to fully enjoy this new offering from Lisa de Nikolits, author of 2016's  The Nearly Girl (Inanna) as well as the award-winning Between the Cracks She Fell (2015, Inanna).

Julia Redner gradually awakens to find herself in a nondescript airport with a bunch of people standing around. Did she fall asleep at the airport? No, for she is only dressed in her go-to couch potato outfit with nothing on her feet. Only those cannot be her feet, for they are in desperate need of a pedicure! She soon discovers that this is actually Purgatory, this isn't a dream! But how did she die? 

Purgatory (in Ms. de Nikolits' view) is a large, impersonal space with unmarked doors leading into different rooms. Some are restrooms (for sleeping), rooms for activities like lawn bowling, knitting, exercise and so on. How one remembers all this is beyond Julia. Agnes, her multi-pierced Goth "Introducer" tells her:

"I’m just here to give you the guided tour; How Purgatory Works 101, for Dummies.”

“This is Purgatory?”

“It’s no island cruise, I’ll tell you that much.”

Julia, a self-described "bitch" in her earthly existence (a la Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada") is compelled to associate and interact with her fellow "Purgatorians" in ways she would have considered beneath her in her daily life. Here in Purgatory, all are equal (since everyone is dead and doesn't own a thing, there is no materialism or wasteful consumerism), there are no class distinctions and it really is one large group therapy session. As each member of the group relates how they died (some are suicides, others are overdoses) and by listening and being supportive, Julia is slowly transformed into a more selfless individual, aided by various helpers such as the aged hippie Cedar Mountain Eagle and Über-dyke Beatrice with whom Julia strikes up a Scrabble-based friendship.

Julia's death (or, actually a near-death) experience came at the hands of her ex-lover Junior, the CEO of the company she has worked for for 17 years. One day, she finds her position is terminated and she is escorted out of the building. Assuming that Junior had a hand in all this and never even gave her a warning call, she retaliates by posting a naked picture of Junior, which goes viral, thus destroying him on several fronts with a click of a button. He retaliates by breaking into her apartment and beating her (with the sole intent of destroying her good looks) until she falls into a coma. It is in this state she arrives in Purgatory. Eventually, Julia is presented with a choice by the Helpers: she can go back and wake up from the coma, or stay in Purgatory. Julia opts to go back for several reasons, the two main ones being to get Junior  incarcerated and to make amends with her young niece Emma, whom she spurned care of when her parents both died in a car accident.

To date, I have read three of Ms. de Nikolit's last four novels and it has been interesting to see her develop her serious-comedic style that really hit its stride in The Nearly Girl and has continued with No Fury Like That. As with the earlier novel, there are deeper undercurrents at play. In The Nearly Girl, we had a story about loveable, quirky characters in group therapy with various neuroses (led by a psychiatrist grappling with his own demons) trying to find and maintain love in a world that tries to suppress or compartmentalise them as crazy. 

In Fury, we have a similar disparate cast of characters now united in the afterlife and who for the most part are attempting to make sense of their earthly lives in a "coffee klatch" type of atmosphere, gently guided along by the more experienced Helpers. It is this "stand-back-and-take-a-look-at-your-life" message that is the biggest takeaway from Fury. It is about realisations: how an altruistic life is better than a self-centered mean-spirited one, the struggle for recognition is often futile, your family does need you, even if they don't know it, one act of indiscretion can have fatal consequences and the list goes on. 

 Once each Purgatorian attains their personal realisation, they can move along to the next level, wherever that may be. 

Bottom line: don't dismiss No Fury Like That as a light, entertaining read. There are nuances to Ms. de Nikolit's writing that could be missed with such a viewpoint. This book is really about second chances that we may never get the first time around on our trek along Eternity's Road.

Sentence summary:

Lisa’s serio-comedic interpretation of Purgatory, with a subplot of suspense and revenge make NFLT an intriguing novel and a most fascinating read.”

   “I’m your Introducer. I’m here to introduce you to this life,
not that it’s a real life, it’s no man’s land of wait and count your
sins and try to find the right way to atone so you can get the
fuck out of here.”
   I bounced on her a few times, as heavily as I can, watching
her face for a reaction and trying to get her to tell the truth and
when she doesn’t move, I release her arms and fold my own across
my chest and I stay there, sitting on her, not saying anything.
   “You can’t hurt me,” she says and she reaches for the cigarette
and lies on her back, smoking, with me pinning her to
the ground.
   I notice that the cigarette burn on the carpet has vanished
and I stare at the spot where it was, I could have sworn it was
there. I am about to ask Agnes about it but she starts talking.
   “I’m dead too,” she says. “I think I’ve been here for a while
but I don’t know how long. Time is weird. Like that thing that
happened to you — you got to the front of the counter and then
you got bounced back. Well, that happens a lot. Groundhog
day. Only not in any world you know.”
   “You. Are. Full. Of. Shit.” I say slowly and I roll off her and
sit cross-legged on the floor.
   Something feels horribly true in what she is saying.
   “You were in an accident,” she says. “And you died.”
   “Where’s my husband? Where is he? How come he’s not here?”
   She give me an inscrutable look. “You’ll figure that one out
for yourself. I’m just here to give you the guided tour: How
Purgatory Works 101, for Dummies.”
   “This is Purgatory?”
   “It’s no island cruise, I’ll tell you that much.”
   “Why didn’t I just go to heaven?” I sound childish and
forlorn and Agnes laughs like I have said something hilarious.
   “Because you were a bad girl! We, all of us here, we were crap
people. We have to sort it all out, do penance or some shit. I
don’t know what. I haven’t figured it out yet.”

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