The Heart's Invisible Furies

The Heart's Invisible Furies

by John Boyne


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The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first this story seemed light and entertaining but I was drawn in deeper and deeper until I cared intensely for the characters. It's long but I was sad to have it end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book although it has heartbreaking moments and I really enjoyed it. Loved that it was dedicated John Irving too. Read it in two days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has made its way to my pile of favorite books. I cannot find the words to give this book a review with out wanting to spoil it for others, but it’s an amazing read that will give you a different perspective of view points.
Thebooktrail-com More than 1 year ago
This is an epic read which touches on so many subjects and themes I knew little about. Ireland is so near and yet so far. What we hear on the news is just one part of it, and I have no idea of what it must have been like to live as a gay man in the 1940s onwards. The role of the church, the oppression an the fear of being ‘outed’ was not just a question of identity but it could get you killed. The attacks, the homophobia, is this the world we lived in and to some extent still do? Breathtaking in its cruelty and brutality but John Boyne illustrates a Dublin and Ireland which pulls at York shows more facets of this world and when we come up to the present day and the 9/11 attacks, the world of hatred has different targets but it sadly still exists. This is a long read yes, but a worthy one and Cyril Avery a fascinating and worthy narrator with so much to tell. It’s an unforgettable book and has so many layers to it, with journeys, memories and humourous yet tear jerking events on every page. It’s a sprawl of a novel but one which captures a series of black and white snapshots of a country in flumox – it’s the little details that come to the fore to fascinate.
LeighKramer More than 1 year ago
Simply marvelous. Many people are comparing it to A Prayer For Owen Meany (my all-time favorite novel) and I see why. It very much has a John Irving vibe and the characters are so uniquely weird in their own way. At the same time, it stands on its own as an epic tale. The cruelty shown toward gay men in Ireland, particularly in the 50s and 60s as Cyril grew up, was staggering. We clearly see why Cyril became the way he did. He was timid as a child due to his unconventional adoptive parents and he remains timid as an adult, regularly veering into cowardice. But even his cowardice is understandable when his sexuality is viewed as a threat. At some point, however, we have to own up to our actions and Cyril makes sizable mistakes and runs from them. This sets him up to become a better man but his actions still have consequences for him and others. The exploration of this over the course of many years had me in complete thrall. I loved Cyril, even when he disappointed me, and I wanted him to be happy, as much as I wanted him to do better. The side characters are one of the best parts of this novel. They are fully formed and sometimes so completely wacky you can't help but chuckle, even as you see how hard Cyril is trying to be seen and understood. Sometimes they are there as his friends, sometimes to illustrate society's views toward homosexuality. Eventually Cyril becomes a volunteer visiting AIDS patients whose families have disowned them and this section of the book was particularly moving. It's hard to see how many thousands of people were thoroughly failed when HIV and AIDS were first diagnosed and how many years it took for the stigma and ignorance to lessen. The Heart's Invisible Furies broke my heart and mended it back together. The character growth was phenomenal and I could have kept reading for many more pages. A masterpiece through and through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is damn near perfect. I read mostly sci-fi and YA so I didn't expect to enjoy this book but I was very wrong.
AnnaBastos More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I'd ever come across a 5-star book ever again, and now Boyne has gone and spoiled me. This was so indescribable.I worry if I can even make a proper review. First, this was the fictional biography of Cyril Avery, adopted since a baby from a teenage mother exiled from home with no way to provide for two to a rich but nonconventional couple in Dublin. Since little, he had been told the truth about his origins—he wasn't a real Avery, he like a tenant in the house, expected to move out at eighteen. He was never abused but starved for love when he met Julian Woodbead, with whom he'd construct a complex relationship close to that of a brother despite Cyril's wish that they were something else. The book covers most of Cyril's life, from when his mother is told to leave her town and family still carrying him inside her. But Boyne chose an interesting way to accomplish this. Instead of going from important fact to important fact, he showed Cyril's life every seven years or so. I think the most noticeable consequence of this was the small question he'd create with each passage of time—but what happened right after that event he was telling us? This would always make sure I read the next period as soon as possible, waiting for Cyril to update us on that. The same way we met Cyril every seven years, it was lovely to meet again some characters you thought you'd never see another time. I believe the title is a reference to the Greek Goddesses, the Furies, who hounded and punished people for their evil deeds. And the book makes sure to tell us the beginning and the punishment each character happens to come across for their actions. Including Cyril himself. I'm not good at this but I would love to read a deeper analysis. But it's not all about misfortunes. In fact, any friend to whom I've mentioned this story would have thought this is primarily a humor book. From narration to dialogues and even more the characters, there wasn't a part that didn't make me laugh. To be honest, despite so many unfortunate happenings, I only cried while reading the final page—because the scene was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. Now I'd chuckle and laugh out loud a little too much for a serious story. Julian does the most unexpected things, which leave us and Cyril speechless all the time. And the Averies! They were terrible parents and still my favorite characters. Even though they were present in many of the scenes, they still managed to leave their mark in much of what Cyril did—like his insistence on others call the couple his adoptive parents. The repeating theme of the book is homosexuality. I can't opine but from the view of a heterosexual, but I don't doubt Boyne treated it with the seriousness and completeness this deserved. Now, if the theme doesn't make you feel comfortable, I suggest you skip the reading. Boyne is known for his subtlety and it was indeed subliminal in the beginning. After a point, however, he left no room for ambiguity of the importance of this to the main plot. It is the main plot. (Sometimes I even wondered if someone could have met so many obvious homosexuals back then without being out and looking for them; I really hadn't until ten years ago.) This is perfect for book clubs or buddy reads. This was my second Boyne book and I was hesitant. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas being my first made me think I'd never enjoy as much anything he may write. I'm glad I was so wrong. Review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley.
CRSK More than 1 year ago
The Catholic Church has not been known for embracing homosexuality, or sexuality except as it relates to bearing children to those happily wed with the blessing of the Church. It is in 1945, this era in Ireland, where sixteen year-old Catherine is exiled from her church by their priest, the same priest, who it will later be discovered had fathered two children by two women. One in Drimoloeague, one in Clonakilty. The same Father James Monroe denounces Catherine as a whore and bans her from returning to this town with the congregation looking on as he drags her past the graveyard, giving her an hour to be gone. Forever. Buying a one-way ticket, she boards the bus to Dublin with plans for no further than getting through this day. A young man named Seán gets on the bus at a later stop and eventually starts up a conversation with Catherine, and when they arrive in Dublin, it is to Seán’s friend Jack’s place they go, where Catherine will end up staying. She will eventually find work in the Dáil Éireann tearoom. Told in seven-year increments, in 1952 we are introduced to young Cyril Avery, the adopted son of Roger and Maud Avery. Cyril is but a lad of seven years, and is taught to stress to others that he is the adopted son of Roger and Maud. This is the year that young Cyril will meet Julian, who will become his friend, his roommate, and the first boy that Cyril loves. Both Julian’s parents and Cyril’s adoptive parents are fairly well off. Cyril’s adopted mother is an author of some fame, not that she seeks fame, she can’t abide the thought of it. Through Cyril we follow the changes that have since taken place in regard to sexuality, in Ireland and to some extent in the world. Ireland transforms over the years, becomes less of a theocracy, more tolerant, more attuned to civil rights, in a sense, Ireland's own "coming-of-age" tale. We follow Cyril from Dublin to Amsterdam, to New York, and eventually back to Ireland again, covering more than the struggle for gay rights; this also touches on the topic of sexual slavery, and more. This story is the coming-of-age account of one boy-to-man, struggling with who he is and where or even if he belongs anywhere in this world, the shame he carries with him, the fear of being “found out,” the desire to find a place where he is accepted, most can relate to the feeling of wanting to feel safe and accepted. The people he meets through his life by chance, these wonderful characters help shape him, help him find a way to deal with his feelings of loss, and help lead him to an emotional place of peace. All these struggles, and yet Boyne manages to include moments of humour, moments of lightness, moments of fun. There are tragic, devastating moments, and anger, balanced by some lovely, inspiring moments. Those commonplace moments of life, as well. Most of all, there’s love, finding love, falling in love, and living in love. I was completely immersed in these words of Boyne. I laughed, I cried, and I was reminded that sometimes salvation may be found within, but even that requires a journey. Highly Recommended Many thanks for the ARC provided by Crown Publishing / Hogarth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Epic novel: enjoyed reading this book and empathizing with struggles of rights and acceptance of homosexuals over the last century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HeidiDaniele More than 1 year ago
This page turner reveals life in a culture repressed by religious influences. John Boyne allows the reader to witness Ireland's movement out of ignorance and fear into a progressive society of acceptance. The main character's often sad life is softened through Boyne's wit and humor. I loved viewing history through the eye of a human being living in it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tragic, inspiring, and powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book, in the last chapters, was tender and had sense of humor that exists easily between those who have experienced pain and overcome. It was a lovely way to end what was a study in tragedy and perseverance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
incredibly sordid, retailing homosexual encounters in toilets, alleyways and parks in the days before homosexuality was recognized as a legitimate lifestyle. I am sympathetic but it is very hard to take. I quit part way through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great insight into how different cultures react to differences in people.
Laundry_Whispers More than 1 year ago
Writing this review is slowly killin’ me. It’s so hard! Let me tell ya why, since you didn’t really ask. I love epic, sweeping, coming-of-age, full-life stories. I love truly getting to know a character through the stages of life, possibly why I read so many books that are in a series. However, a series doesn’t give me a LIFE. Now, with ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’, I feel like if this were broken into two separate books the reviews would be soooo much easier. I’d lose that sweeping drama of real life but. . . this review would be easier to write. I feel like this book is two parts. The first part truly turned me off to this book. The second half however, drew me in and almost made up for the first half. Before I jump into why that is I’ll give you a couple of quick disclaimers. First, this book is not Christian Fiction. That being said I do not hold it to the same standard, however you might. There is quite a bit of colorful language in this book. There is also quite a bit of sexual content, at least the talking about such things. Oh yeah, and spoiler. . .the main character is gay. Let’s get nitty gritty. The first half of this book felt utterly over the top and really dipped into the crass. It didn’t build a relationship with the characters for me. Seriously, for the bulk there was nothing but sex. Talking about sex. And sexual body parts. Talking about engaging in sex. It felt like every character’s only goal in life was sex. It just doesn’t strike as realistic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I get that teenagers (especially males but really all teenagers) are pretty hormone focused. However, literally everyone was having sex, or talking about sex, or having affairs, or just sex. We talk about how this generation is the most sexually open and enlightened but for all the tomatoes half the population of Ireland in the 50s and 60s was doing nothing but scoring. Really, that’s about all I took away from the first half of the book. I was despairing that I would be reading this book in utter disappointment for a genre that I truly enjoy. But . . . Then the second half of the book happened. I suddenly get real connection with real feelings and real experiences and real relationships. OK, there’s still sex but it’s not every page and it’s not the plot anymore. People are connecting because they have common interests and common values and OK, sex too but not sex for the sake of sex. And it’s not being talked about on every page by every character. Really, sex takes a backseat to connections. It’s like the book finally figured out that depth is vital for a good story and decided it was time to give it a chance. And at a 600-ish page book it really could be two separate books, the same people at a different age in different decades (and even countries) but separate books. This book takes us from an unwed mother just at the close of WW2 through the exploration of life in the 60s to the start of the AIDS epidemic of the 80s (spoiler, the gay character doesn’t have it!), to the new acceptance of the 2000s and beyond. One man. One life. Many decades. Many countries. Many experiences. One truth. Told with a lot of sex, a lot of humor, a lot of personal growth, and ultimately a lot of acceptance. Acceptance of self and others. Seriously, just read the last half. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions exp
Bookish1KP More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book. Well written and emotional, yet funny, too. I could not put it down. The main character was born the same year as I was and went through many of the same problems, too. It was an era when being gay had to be hidden in order to survive. Thank God that time is gone forever. Loved it! Recommend it highly!
4840318 More than 1 year ago
4 stars This is a book that just simply tells a story. The life story of Cyril Avery (who is not a real Avery) and it is completely engrossing. It was sad at times and so damn funny at times, with the kind of humor that I really enjoy (dry & sarcastic). There were parts that I cried and parts where I was literally laughing out loud. Cyril is really funny and sharp and I loved the way he bantered with other characters. I thought the flow of the story was done very well, the characters were well developed and I liked how everything came full circle. It was really nice to see how Boyn not only developed Cyril, but all of the supporting characters as well. This is a book of “life” so you get to see the good, bad and ugly of it. The first paragraph simply draws you in and I did not want to put this book down. There are no twists and turns, no shocking revelations, but wow, does this book tell you a really, really good story that left me completely satisfied at the end. This book is a long one, so prepare yourself. I felt it probably could have been about 100 pages less, but I still very much enjoyed this book. I would highly recommend this as this book is absolutely worth all of the buzz.
Eleanorcowan More than 1 year ago
About the insults suffered by a gay youth who, unable to disclose himself, remains a hapless victim for far too many pages. His chronic complaints, all the while trailing the disrespectful source of his distress - gets boring. Stereotypical casting of girls and women as sex objects also disappoints. Eleanor Cowan, Author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife