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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne


My last read of 2018 and it’s a good one…

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This book has everything it made me laugh and it made me cry but on the whole for me at least there were more smiles than tears.

This is the story of one man Cyril Avery and the people in his life who influence the man he is to become. The story begins in the 40’s when Cyril’s unmarried pregnant mother is banished from her home village by the local priest. Katherine is not your typical pregnant teenager and she has already decided how she intends to deal with the situation, when the baby is born she gives him up for adoption and from then on we follow the baby Cyril as he grows and becomes a man.

Cyril’s journey to adulthood is not easy, he is a gay man living in Ireland at a time when this is very much frowned upon and the chances of an open relationship are practically zero. We follow Cyril as he falls in love, discovers sex, makes some truly stupid decisions, suffers lose and finally finds peace with himself.

While the story is Cyril’s it is also a story about the changing attitudes towards gay men as the years progress. Cyril lives through the AIDS crisis and all the prejudices this ignites and finally sees Ireland vote to allow gay marriage something his younger self could never have envisioned.

While some may accuse of Cyril of being selfish I actually really liked him, I found his self depreciating sense of humour endearing and I could fully understand why he did what he did even if I didn’t agree with his choices. In fact I think it is fair to say that I loved most of the characters in this epic saga.

Here are some of the one liners that had me smiling to myself:

“I mean what man is his right mind wants to have sex with his own wife?”

“It’s just you never come home at this hour…you realise that it’s still daylight out and the pubs are still open.”

“But there was no real evidence, other than fingerprints, DNA and an eyewitness.”

“Should I fall or have a heart attack, I could lie on the kitchen floor decomposing for weeks before anyone thought to come looking for me. I didn’t even have a cat to eat me.”

Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good family saga with all the ups and downs that entails.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I keep hearing about this book and how good it is, but the synopsis hasn’t really grabbed my attention. Reading your review gives me a little more to go on and convinced me that it’s something I might like.


    January 1, 2019
  2. Tracy S #

    I loved this book!


    January 3, 2019
  3. pbtanita #

    Another fan of this book here. Our Goodreads group rated it #1 for 2018. I enjoyed revisiting the quotes you extracted.


    January 7, 2019

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