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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 glamourous and dangerous Julian WoodbeadAt 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 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

10 thoughts on “The Heart's Invisible Furies

  1. says:

    Update If by some crazy reason you have missed this bookits a 199 kindle special today I actually have a phone call to make to make sure a friend buys it today Not a book to hesitate buying it at this price if you’ve not taken your turn reading it yet A PHENOMENAL READI finished this seconds ago THE BEST NOVEL of 2017It's not only a FAVORITE FAVORITEIt makes my top 10 BEST BOOKS in at least the last 5 or 6 years PHENOMENAL long lush perfectly escapist readI read this book SLOW I SERIOUSLY LOVED it soooooo MUCH I'm 'ga ga'goo goo' over this novel I'm sorry it's over I can't imagine starting another book THIS novel has EVERYTHING I want in a powerful saga AND MOREIt's set against the dramatic backdrop of Irish political cultural Catholic Church in Ireland in the 20th centuryI got a deeper experience about The Parliament of Ireland The Dial Eiereann TD Bankers oppression bigotry discrimination hostility towards gays and hostility towards Ireland THOUGHTS ABOUT IRELAND in the 40's 50's 60's There's not a nation on the face of the planet obsessed with sex A degenerate race No one talks about sex yet it's all they think about says one New Yorker character in the story Ireland is a backward place – – people with no empathy for anyone says a character in Amsterdam Belvedere College is a catholic college for boys The society of Jesus Its run by Jesuit priests Homosexuality was considered a sin Boys who are caught holding hands with another boywould result in being expelled from the school Gays were called 'nanny boys' 'perverts' 'fags' deviants etcThe author John Boyle really drives home for the reader what Dublin the Nation's Capital was like starting from the 40's with abusive Priests conniving churchman adulterous husband miserable bigots paupers who receive no help from the state a town filled with innocents and millionaires who suck the lifeblood from it We see the changes in Ireland through the years slowly ending in the year 2015 THIS IS A JUICY PAGE TURNING EMOTIONALLY riveting journey with FANTASTIC Memorable characterswith Incredibly non stop treasure STORYTELLING surprises ongoing ITS SO DAMN GREAT Funny shocking leaving the reader excited to see what's coming down the pipeline next I've pages and pages of highlighting notes on my kindle FEEL FREE TO READ THROUGH THEM I was so SPENT after reading this ALL DAY TODAYand much of yesterday that I'm now a little lazy to write a detail reviewBUT YOU DONT NEED IT It will be soooo enjoyable to discover all the many treasures GREAT DISCUSSION BOOKBECAUSE YOU'LL miss this novel so much when it ends you'll be excited to talk about it with other people I can't wait I laughed I cried I discussed while laughing this with my husband things like an ear a toe a thumb a syringe the scrotum or even remembering to comb your hair and remember where you are and what you've come here to do This will ALL HAVE MUCH MORE MEANING WHEN 'YOU' READ THE BOOK Lots of TALK about SEX A HOT TOPIC From Ireland to Amsterdam to New York back to IrelandI WAS NEVER BORED NEVER I didn't want the book to endMeet sexy handsome outgoing best friend Julian A 'charmer'woman and men flock to him Julian is Cyril's best friend Cyril is gay Julian is straight Cyril has an obsessive secret love crush for Julian Cyril fantasizes having sex with Julian Meet Good girl Mary Margaret Muffet FUNNY DIALOGUE in every scene she is inShe becomes Cyril's first fiancé Meet Alice who is left at the altar once She marries again even drama Meet Catherine Goggin manages a Tea cafe much to learn about this awesome powerhouse woman Meet Bastiaan A research scientist A doctor of communicable disease He's from Amsterdam and there is a love story I've only shared a few tidbits BUT NO SPOILERSITS THE BEST BEST BEST BOOK Once in Amsterdam visit galleries Books stores street artists enjoy cycling sightseeing the cultured life that Cyril didn't have in Dublin Sooo many wonderful scenes I HOPE this book becomes a movie and than that I hope it wins awards after awards after awards Highly HIGHLY recommended5 STRONG STARSThank You Crown Publishing Netgalley and John Boyne

  2. says:

    Maybe there were no villains in my mother’s story at all Just men and women trying to do their best by each other And failing This book THIS BOOK I cannot remember the last time I became so thoroughly immersed in a story fell so deeply in love with the characters and had my heart so fully ripped out The Heart's Invisible Furies is a masterpiece Most people will know Boyne from his hard hitting children's book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas but this book is something else entirelyI'm not sure where to start This book has been doing well with critics so I expected it to be pretty good I just didn't expect it to be unputdownable I also thought it might be hard going but it was a really easy read albeit long and sometimes depressing At one point the characters have a discussion about authors and what makes a good book and I found this uote especially fitting He tells a story and that’s what I like Does this fella tell a story? He doesn’t spend twenty pages describing the colour of the sky? Because as much as I love descriptions and metaphors and whatnot there is nothing I love than just a damn good story Which I think this book isIt is essentially the life story of Cyril Avery from conception to old age He is a gay man born into an extremely conservative Ireland and his personal experiences are set to the backdrop of two harrowing histories the modern history of Ireland the IRA and terrorist bombings and the long difficult history of LGBT rights It is rife with the sexism and homophobia typical of the eraThe story moves from the postwar period showing an Ireland that is almost theocratic in its obsession with the church to the liberal 1980s in Amsterdam to New York City in the middle of the AIDs crisis and back to a modern Ireland that is moving towards the legalization of gay marriageThere's a lot of the kind of humour I really like which tempers a story that is in many ways an incredibly sad one There is profound loneliness and depression in being gay in 1960s Ireland The belief that I would spend the rest of my time on earth lying to people weighed heavily on me and at such times I gave serious consideration to taking my own life But the characters shine through the darkness with dialogue that is dry and silly ‘What’s a pervert?’ I asked ‘It’s someone who’s a sex maniac’ he explained ‘Oh’ ‘I’m going to be a pervert when I grow up’ he continued ‘So am I’ I said eager to please ‘Perhaps we could be perverts together’‘I’ve never even heard of President Eisaflower’ said Bridget with a shrug ‘Eisenhower’ I said ‘Eisaflower’ she repeated ‘That’s it’ I said‘Is that supposed to be a joke?’ she asked ‘It was’ I admitted ‘As I heard the words coming out of my mouth they sounded less amusing than I thought they would’ ‘Some people just shouldn’t try to be funny’ Neither the history of Ireland nor the history of LGBT rights is a particularly happy one so the humour was a really great balance to this And I was just completely taken with all the characters As with the opening uote none of them are merely heroes or villains They are not neat and they make mistakes sometimes horrendous ones that will challenge your ability to love them but I at least found it easy to forgive them for being so painfully human What happens toward the end of the New York chapters will come as no surprise and yet that doesn't make it hurt any lessThe ending is absolutely perfect for this kind of story It is happy in many ways but it does carry a certain sadness with it A bittersweetness to round off a life tale full of love misery heartache and hope It was wonderfulBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. says:

    Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in the parish of Goleen west C ork and denounced my mother as a whore I imagine I must have been under some sort of a curse for the last sixteen years or so How else to explain that I just finished reading my first John Boyne novel Must be the luck of the Irish well the Irish American anyway Boyne is a writer from the Auld Sod who has written ten adult novels five YA novels a short story collection and god knows what else He is best known for his 2006 work The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and is probably pretty tired of being asked about it well as irked as one can decently be about a book that sold millions and was made into a major film The income from his book sales and movie rights has allowed him to spend his days writing He has won crocks full of awards and been nominated for a bunch Part of my misfortune is not having a base against which to compare his latest novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies to his prior work If you find that troubling you might stop reading now and look for a pot of reviewing gold elsewhere Are there themes that re appear after having been considered in earlier work? Dunno Maybe characters who appeared in one guise or another in earlier work scenes that are replayed rewritten here? Sorry Is this his best book? No idea But if this is not his best then goddamJohn Boyne from his Instagram pages In 2015 voters approved the thirty fourth amendment to the Irish Constitution with over 62% in favor The amendment had been supported by all the major political parties On its face it is a remarkable achievement that a nation’s voters would make their country the first to offer profound popular support for change so long in coming That the voters ignored the railing against the referendum by their country’s once all powerful Catholic Church was a signal achievement Ireland became the first nation on earth in which same sex marriage was guaranteed by popular vote Inspired by this possibility even before the vote was held John Boyne decided to look at the duration of a lifetime leading up to the event I wanted Cyril to represent the country and how it has evolved over those 70 years Although Cyril is gay he is very frightened of that fact when he is a younger man and is terrified of the conseuences of anyone finding out He lies to himself he lies to his friends and he lies to a woman he plans to marry Homosexuality was still illegal in Ireland until the early 1990s so it was a very difficult place for any gay man or woman to be But eventually he starts to change he begins to accept who he is and becomes proud of that And so it is with Ireland itself which has evolved for the better over those years from the BookBrowse interview Boyne tracks that history step wise each chapter taking place seven years after the last believing erroneously as it turns out that every seven years all our cells are replaced and so we are in a sense a new person We begin in 1945 with the pregnancy of sixteen year old Catherine Goggin and her being publicly cast out of her community by the laughably hypocritical parish priest See the uote at the top of this review which is also the opening of the book Cyril the product of Catherine’s illicit union and in vitro narrator in chapter one appears on the outside in chapter 2 in 1952 now the adopted son of a well to do couple Father sorry adoptive father Charles Avery works in finance You’ll never be a real Avery Mom sorry adoptive mom Maude is a writer who emerges from a cloud of permanent cigarette smoke every now and then to exchange banter with Cyril and anyone else in the vicinity She is not particularly interested in having a large readership In fact she finds such a notion vulgar Cyril’s conversational capabilities reuire some belief suspension but once you have hoisted yours a few feet off the ground Boyne will make you roar with laughter The family exchanges are often ROFL level recalling the madcap comedies of an earlier age but imbued with a modern sensibility Aside from getting adopted the second most important thing to happen to Cyril in this seven year patch is meeting Julian a boy who bubbles over with brains beauty and charisma He is the son of Charles’s much needed attorney Max Cyril is smitten He does not know it yet but he is gay and Julian is his first crush We’re none of us normal Not in this fucking country Each seven year leap offers another look at what it was to be gay in the painfully Catholic Ireland of the late 20th and early 21st century As an adolescent at school as a randy twenty one year old and a randy twenty eight year old and so on How can one find love when that love places you at risk of imprisonment? We track societal events as well with mention of deviant priests terrorist IRA attacks and kidnappings the attraction of free love in the 60s the inclusion of female members in the Dáil Éireann Irish assembly and 911 among othersBoyne’s view of his beloved Ireland contains a rich supply of outrage In addition to the priest of the opening paragraph publicly shaming and expelling a pregnant 16 year old a murderer is set free because a jury finds “that his crime had been committed under the extreme provocation of having a mentally disordered son” Crooked cops bribed jurors a blackmailing lawyer child abusing priests by reference only thankfully political sorts of the terroristic stripe a boy expelled from a school on trumped up charges because of his parents’ politics violent homophobes pimping parents corrupt financiers compulsive womanizers and over all the shame and hypocrisy nails hammered into Irish society by The Church An émigre speaks to this “Here’s the thing you have to understand about Ireland” he said leaning forward now and pointing a finger at me “Nothing will ever change in that fucking place Ireland is a backward hole of a country run by vicious evil minded sadistic priests and a government so in thrall to the collar that it’s practically led around on a leash The Taoiseach does what the Archbishop of Dublin says and for his obeisance he’s given a treat like a good puppy The best thing that could happen to Ireland would be for a tsunami to rise up in the Atlantic Ocean and drown the place with all the vengeance of a biblical flood and for every man woman and child to disappear forever Physical violence figures large in The Furies with gay men being subjected to homophobic arrest assault and murder Parents attack their own sons Then there is the usual sort of physical mayhem from cuckolded husbands seeking vengeance to the IRA blowing things up and kidnapping people for ransom There are two major lines to follow here Cyril’s development as a character from confusion to fear to understanding and acceptance and the corresponding changes in Irish society There are also two moods at work Cyril’s struggle to find love and some happiness in the world is fraught with extreme peril not even counting the AIDS epidemic which is addressed in good measure There is also a large volume of hilarity The banter sparkles offering a welcome antidote to the darker parts of Cyril’s tale You will laugh out loud even while recognizing that Boyne’s younger characters often speak in ways that are years beyond what anyone would believe possible The humor permeates and is effervescent “What’s wrong with you people?” he asked looking at me as if I was clinically insane “What’s wrong with Ireland? Are you all just fucking nuts over there is that it? Don’t you want each other to be happy?”“No” I said finding my country a difficult one to explain “No I don’t think we do” While the novel casts a steely eye at Irish society it offers considerable warmth to many of its characters Cyril is an everyman who just wants to find his way and cope with the restrictions placed on him by an ignorant world In a sense he is looking for his true home Catherine Goggin is a powerful woman making her way by virtue of her will abetted by a kind understanding heart and a deep well of wisdom Some characters seem a bit thin Julian’s charm comes through early on but he seems one dimensional after that Cyril’s true love is just too good to be true Some of the baddies are also painted in single colors A character who really is named Miss Muffett may have a unicolor green stick up her bum but her snooty condescension and self importance are also uite a funny send up of the worst of the ancient sorts of attitudes extant on the Emerald Isle Novelists often write about writing and Boyne has a bit of fun with the subject Maude Avery Cyril’s adoptive mother holds a dim view of her profession “Do you enjoy being a writer Mrs Avery?” asked Julian“No of course not she said “It’s a hideous profession Entered into by narcissists who think their pathetic little imaginations will be of interest to people they’ve never met” Boyne brings notable Irish author Brendan Behan into the tale for a short romp “Was everything you said in your book true?” asked Julian In Borstal Boy I mean “Christ I hope not” said Behan shaking his head as he lifted his next pint “A book would be terribly boring if everything in it was true don’t you think? Especially an autobiography I can’t remember half of it anyway so I presume I’ve slandered a few people along the way” In a positive writerly vein Boyne was strongly influenced by his admiration for John Irving to whom he dedicated the book I read The Cider House Rules when I was 17 years old and uickly devoured all of John Irving's novels Since then he has been my favourite novelist I admire his storytelling abilities but also his empathy for what he has always described as sexual misfits John was writing about transgender people for example in The World According to Garp long before that was a subject that was talked about – from the bookbrowse interview Whether you are straight gay bisexual asexual or fall into any other of the increasing number of possible gender slots Cyril will speak to you He is really just a guy looking for love and a home and you will want him to succeed John Boyne leads us on a trail of medieval hypocrisy and mean spiritedness that ends in a national triumph of sanity The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a moving epic tale that is a triumph of literary achievement It is one of the best books of 2017 and must not be missed “It happens” he said with a shrug “We all fall in the shit many times in our lives The trick is pulling ourselves out again” Published – August 22 2017Review Posted August 25 2017EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal Twitter and Instagram pagesInterviews The Guardian – Meet the author John Boyne ‘The church has become a spent force’ by Hannah Beckerman – February 19 2017 HotPress About The Boy The John Boyne Interview by Jason O’Toole – February 13 2017 BookBrowse An Interview with John Boyne by Melissa Firman – July 2017Ok the following link does not really have all that much to do anything really with the book but it turned up in my research It contains a list of Irish Slang much of it profane that will put you at risk of laughing your clackers offNovember 9 2017 The Heart’s Invisible Furies is among the nominees for 's book of the year Literature and Fiction

  4. says:

    UPDATE In Audible US sale today 122618The first paragraph of the book is what grabbed me Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in the parish of Goleen West Cork and denounced my mother as a whore Pretty powerful stuff that Little Cyril is telling the story as a babe not even born yet and the story he told whew I was appalled at what that priest did to his mom Threw her out of town and hit her I really can't stand those priests of old Catherin Goggin is a 16 year old girl who is pregnant and kicked out of the only home town she has known But she makes it in Dublin with the help of some wonderful people Some that didn't have a happy ending themselves Cyril is adopted to another couple who are very strange I guess they loved Cyril in their own way and was never hurt but all of his life he seemed to miss out on something A little clueless to things in the world The story is told in different times of Cyril's life from birth until old age It is all very bittersweet and there are some really funny moments I really enjoyed Cyril I thought he was funny and sweet and as an adult he had some hard times Friends dying or being killed Cyril was a gay man living in a time where you could be put in jail for it or killed and nothing done about it Some of the things are just too horrific to even think about I loved how the story connected so many people in the book over the years Cyril even meets his real mom at one point and neither of them even know it I wanted to scream at someone but that's the way it goes The ending made me very happy some sadness but mostly happy Mel ♥ Thank you to bloggingforbooks for a hardback copy of this bookMY BLOG Melissa Martin's Reading List

  5. says:

    So it's my last review of 2017 and my year in books has ended pretty much as it began with an excellent 5 star read John Boyne is a truly gifted writer and 'The Heart's Invisible Furies' is simply mesmerisingCyril Avery was born out of wedlock to 16 year old Catherine Coggins Because of this Catherine is banished from the small Irish Community where she's lived all her life This is 1940's Ireland where Catholic priests very much ruled their communities Publicly denounced as a whore by the parish priest in front of the whole congregation at Sunday Mass she boards a bus for Dublin and turns her back on everything and everyone she's ever known Baby Cyril is adopted by a wealthy but unconventional couple and although he isn't badly treated he's never shown any real love and is constantly reminded that he's not a real Avery and never will beAs Cyril grows older he begins to realise that he's not like other boys he has no interest in girls and indeed when he meets Julian Woodbead at the age of 7 he's completely obsessed with him and this will continue for many years He begins to see Julian as the love of his life however it's a love that's not returned and something he has to keep secret this was a time when it was a criminal offence to be homosexual and at the very least would land you a severe beatingAs the years pass we share Cyril's life firstly in Ireland then onto Amsterdam where the laws were lenient towards the gay community and where he meets his future partner and then finally to America where he has to face one of the biggest tragedies of his lifeOh gosh This was a family saga of the highest order covering seven decades and it deals with issues that would appear unbelievable today The author demonstrates how the Catholic Church created unbearable situations for families through it's hypocritical small minded beliefsIt was an emotional read that had me chuckling at times yet left me tearful at others I became completely invested in the characters and wanted to rage at the way Cyril was treated because of his homosexuality he just wanted to live like everyone else with the one he loved was that too much to ask? The writing was that of a master at work the characters were an eclectic bunch but all the better for it and the storyline broke my heart at times with its political and cultural prejudice At around 600 pages this isn't a uick read but if you choose to read it just savour every page because if you're like me you'll be really sorry when it comes to an end A truly powerful read and a tremendous finish to 2017Thank you to Random House UK Transworld Publishers for my copy in exchange for an honest review

  6. says:

    Well I'm definitely in the minority with this one With an overall average rating of 449 based on thousands of reviews I had expected this book to be a sure thing for me It just goes to show you that it doesn't always work out that way That being said I can definitely see the appeal of this story for a lot of readers This book addresses many important topics and tackles some controversial subject matter It covers a period of time that spans decades from the 1940's to present day lending to an epic feelDespite all of that I still didn't love it I liked it most of the time The rest of the time I was bored to death This audiobook was so long that I didn't feel like I'd ever finish it Much of that time was spent with mundane descriptions of the main characters daily life and other uneventful filler While it helped to give a complete picture of the social climate and setting it also made the book drag in my opinionThe book tells the story of Cyril Avery a boy born out of wedlock to a young girl that was outcast by her family and community when her pregnancy was discovered With no way to provide for herself much less a baby Cyril's birth mother decides to put him up for adoption He was adopted by a wealthy couple in Dublin who treated him like a houseguest that had overstayed their welcome than a child that they wanted Early on Cyril had my sympathy He was an outsider even within his own home His adoptive parents were deplorable at worst and indifferent at best They provided for Cyril financially but constantly reminded him that he wasn't a real Avery They only laid claim to him when it suited their personal interests such as when his adoptive father faced jail time and wanted to appear sympathetic to the juryCyril's only friend was a boy named Julian who Cyril had been in love with since they first met As the boys grew older Cyril's feelings only intensified However he didn't reveal his feelings to Julian or anyone else Cyril played the part going on dates with girls and taking a backseat to Julian's boisterous antics As Julian slept his way through the female population Cyril was the reliable reserved sidekick He maintained a façade of being a respectable and responsible aka heterosexual young man Meanwhile he snuck around at night in seedy areas of the seedy where he could indulge in sexual encounters with strange men Mostly I felt sad for Cyril He couldn't ever relax and just be himself Instead he was forced to pretend to be somebody that he wasn't If his secret came out he would face persecution He couldn't risk that being that Julian might reject him After all Julian was the only person in his life that had ever really seemed to care about him at all Although in my opinion I think poor Cyril always ended up getting the short end of the stick in that relationship Julian always seemed kind of selfish to meAs the story progressed there were several big developments Cyril eventually does find love and is able to live openly as a gay man However it was a long slow journey Other big events along the way failed to elicit much interest for me I barely batted an eye as Julian's kidnappers were sending home body parts That was another clear indication that I just wasn't feeling itIn the end I give this one 35 stars It was good even beautiful at times but it just didn't move me the way I had anticipated I read for entertainment before enlightenment so this type of book is a little outside of my normal type I liked it but now it's time for me to gladly jump back into the kiddie poolCheck out of my reviews at wwwbookaddicthavencom

  7. says:

    The Catholic Church has an unpardonable and deplorable history mired in horrors such as support for fascist regimes in Spain Germany Italy its oppositon to liberation theology whilst buttressing the power of the tyrannical dictators of South and Central America and its brutal history in Ireland John Boyne embodies the heartbreaking history of Ireland and the Catholic Church in the post war years from 1945 to 2015 through the ordinary life and times of Cyril Avery It is ambitious moving unforgettable and epic in scope incorporating real life characters and events and documents the ground breaking shifts in Irish attitudes and culture It begins with a vicious and hypocritical priest publicly denouncing the pregnant Catherine as a whore in public with the support of her family and expelling her Her son Cyril is adopted by Roger and Maud Avery who inform Cyril that he is not family simply a family tenant for the period of 18 years Cyril lives in Dublin Amsterdam and the city of New York Cyril comes to realise that he is gay in a society that condemns and criminalises him ensuring that he is fearful and secretive whilst igniting an unbearable self hatred within him The sanctimonious misogynist and judgemental Catholic church refers to being gay as a mortal sin sanctioning punitive communities who relish in gossip that shred lives and reputations with impunity The most important people in Cyril's life are childhood friend Julian Woodbead who he meets when he is 7 years old and the dedicated and insightful Dutch docter Bastiaan encountered in Amsterdam who views Irish attitudes with bemusement There is much sex and the deployment of the blackest of comedy and humour in the horrors misfortunes and trials that befall Cyril through the years This is a coming of age story an emotional search for a sense of identity home and country Boyne's justifiable rage at a church and nation that inflicts such harrowing damage to its citizens is something I wholeheartedly share in spades A Catholic Church bought to its knees by abuse and scandals is a welcome progressive development in Irish history the people voting for gay marriage even so However it barely atones for what happens to Cyril and others like him This is a savagely funny and entertaining read with a emotional and compelling narrative with such heart The prose is beautifully expressive vital and vivid The character of Cyril is brilliantly developed to chime with Irish history There are perhaps some uestionable coincidences but they do not prevent the enjoyment of the story I particularly loved the way Boyne celebrates the kindness and tolerance of ordinary people juxtaposed with a country ill served by corrupt self serving politicians An exceptionally brilliant book that I loved and cannot recommend highly enough Thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC

  8. says:

    The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne is a 2017 Hogarth Press publication For years people have listened to me bemoan the demise of the great epic literary saga The big tome that covered decades and generations loaded with drama the sweeping grand love stories the heartbreaks crimes and tragedies While this book has achieved a great deal of press loads of accolades and praise and is very beloved for so many understandable reasons at the end of the day this is an amazing family saga Despite the page count which is nearly double that of your standard size novel the book was so mesmerizing the characters so real time seemed to just fly by I was lost in another time another place so deeply immersed in Cyril Avery’s life I felt I was right there with him living right alongside him as he lays out his life story and what a life it was“I look back at my life and I don’t understand very much of it” “It seems like it would have been so simple now to have been honest with everyone But it didn’t feel like that at the time”As world war two is coming to a close Cyril Avery is born to an unmarried sixteen year old who was cast out by her family Cyril is adopted by Charles and Maude each of whom are completely absorbed in their own lives while Charles never misses an opportunity to remind Cyril he is ‘not a real Avery’At age seven a significant event occurs for Cyril when he is introduced to Julian Woodbead the son of Charles’ attorney From that time forward Julian is never far from his thoughts As fate or irony would have it the two boys end up attending the same school some years later Cyril’s childhood infatuation with Julian uickly becomes a full blown case of unreuited love one that will haunt Cyril much of his life in one way or another However this is not just a fictional journey as we follow Cyril’s life witness great irony and errors in judgment and all that messiness of life we are also given a powerful history lesson one that pins Ireland and the Catholic church in a bright spotlight written with a prose that holds no small amount of bitter and frenzied wrath I don’t think I’m imagining that Many may find a certain vindication in Boyne’s searing no holds barred sentencing of the church and its hypocrisies However the journey which takes Cyril to other countries including America eventually winds back around to Ireland to modern times where we see an entirely different viewpoint where the strictures are relaxed and the country has even made historic advances well ahead of many in the free world It is here that Cyril realizes Ireland was not alone it’s bigotry But getting to this point was gut punching and heart wrenching This is so in any climb out of an oppressive atmosphere whether it’s civil rights human rights women’s rights or gay rights or religious freedom There are those who paved the way those who lost their lives those who survived to enjoy the fruits of their labors passing down freedoms they were once denied to future generations Let’s hope those who reap those benefits will appreciate them and never take them for granted I understand why this book resonated with so many people why people practically begged me to read this book and why John Boyne is so loved and respected Boyne just blows me away This novel is packed with little ironies missed opportunities violence and sadness but it is also funny and warm with the greatest characterizations I’ve encountered in ages Cyril and his family will stick with me for a long long long time to come Thanks to all who nudged this book under my nose and kept at me to read it It was everything you said it would be and 5 stars

  9. says:

    let us all take a brief moment of silence and remember the old me the person i was before i read this book; because by the end of the story i became someone new and improvedi knew this was going to be a 5 star read within the first couple of chapters but the absolute magnitude of this story is truly astonishing and im finding it difficult to adeuately describe the raw sincerity and intense emotional pull of this book i have never used the word ‘unputdownable’ before in a review but maybe thats because i knew i was saving it for this one for a story that teaches through tender feelings and the fragility of human connection for a story that makes the reader not only examine their life but the lives of those around them for a story that makes the heart grow and love this is such a special book and one i now hold dear ↠ 5 stars

  10. says:

    5 BILLION STARS “We’re none of us normal Not in this fcking country” I don’t have the words to do this book justice so all I will say is that I loved everything about this book the characters the plot the sentences Every moment every word every second of reading It's perfection