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The Heart's Invisible Furies

A Novel

by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne X
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2017, 592 pages
    Mar 2018, 592 pages

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Great book. But very emotional and heartbreaking. Cried multiple times while reading.
Sue Riggs

So different from other Boyne books. Following Avery's story through the years was fascinating, his closeted love, his close approximation to his biological mother and the poignancy with which each phase of his life unfolded. Couldn't put it down.
Maribeth R. (Indianapolis, IN)

For those Who Love Jigsaw Puzzles
If you enjoy the complexities of assembling a challenging jigsaw puzzle, you will likely savor this wonderful story where the pieces elude you from time-to-time, but gently fall into place as the picture finally reveals itself.

This fictionalized tale was reminiscent of the autobiographical writings of Augusten Burroughs in "Running With Scissors." Boyne's protagonist assembles nearly as many unconventional relatives, friends and acquaintances along the way as did Burroughs. Boyne escorts you through a variety of emotions that sometimes meet head on as you ask yourself, "Why, when this is sad or poignant, am I also laughing aloud?"

The book challenges the reader by ending certain sections with the same quality as season-ending cliff hangers on old television series. As you move to the end of a chapter, an event takes place, but all the pieces aren't there. These pieces show themselves in chapters beyond and I found myself having to re-read certain parts to make sure I understood how it all fit together. Fortunately for the reader, the pieces finally fall into place, and by the conclusion of nearly 600 pages, you'll see the whole.

Boyne has an amazing capacity for capturing the spirit of his characters, particularly as they age through the decades of time. I invite you all to meet Cyril and those he loves, and to enjoy a novel that you'll remember far into the future. Don't let the length put you off. You may need short breaks as you go. The journey's end is worth the time it takes to travel.
Power Reviewer
Sandi W. (East Moline, IL)

Another Boyne master piece....
I have read a couple of John Boyne books before, so I was prepared for anything. Boyne takes on hard subjects and presents them relentlessly. I am aware that his themes and character development are beyond reproach. This particular book sucked me into its world. I found it to be a work far more subtle and powerful than the ordinary novel.

We followed Cyril Avery for 70 odd years - from the 1940s to 2015. The novel set in Ireland, Amsterdam and New York City covered man's nonacceptance of his fellow man, starting with the pregnancy of the unmarried woman in the 1940s and continuing through to gay bashing in the 1990s.

This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and most of all, it made me think. It read like a 300 page book, not the approximate 600 pages that it really is. Throughout there were strings randomly crisscrossing, and when they started to align, it lead to a very acceptable and well developed conclusion. Another great novel by Boyne.

Thank you Penguin Random House and BookBrowse for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Publication expected August 22, 2017. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars
Nicole S. (St. Paul, MN)

Not very good - fantastic
Wow. Have you ever read a book that hooks you and doesn't let go? This is it! The characters are Interwoven in ways that delight and keep you reading. The narrator, Cyril, is so delightfully human that you cringe, cheer and understand (even when you don't agree). It captures the fear of living in the shadows and the warmth of live in the open! I can't say enough about this book, except treat yourself, give this book your time and you will not regret it.
Phyllis R. (Rochester Hills, MI)

Finding oneself and happiness
Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this excellent book. The title comes from a W.H. Auden poem and even after reading this novel, I cannot figure it out! The setting is Ireland, Amsterdam, New York City, and back to Ireland. The time begins at Cyril Avery's birth in 1945 and proceeds at increments of 7 years to 2008. The reader learns about being gay in Catholic Ireland and Cyril's search for meaning and happiness throughout his life and travels trying to find himself and his real mother and father. John Boyne who is an Irish gay author has written an excellent novel which is so timely now that Ireland has its first gay Prime Minister. It is very well written and is a page turner. Highly recommended!
Lorri S. (Pompton Lakes, NJ)

A coming of all ages story
To call The Heart's Invisible Furies a coming-of-age novel would be selling it short. Sweeping in scope, it is Cyril Avery's "coming of all ages" story. Cyril is many things: a boy with a secret, an adolescent dealing with desires he has no idea how to reconcile with the society he lives in, a conflicted young groom running away from responsibilities, a man running toward and embracing his true desires, ultimately a man becoming his authentic self. He must make his way in a time when begin gay meant relegating yourself to either a life of lies and repression or a life lived on the ostracized margins of society. Cyril is achingly human on his life's journey: he struggles; he loves imperfectly; he makes mistakes; he loves again and finds happiness only to have it snatched away. You ache for Cyril at every stage of life, wishing the best for him, but you are never sure that the decisions he makes will lead him to happiness. This is a story about what makes a family, about enduring friendships, about betrayal and forgiveness, about redemption. Big themes wrapped in a very human story, this would be a solid pick for readers and book groups who like family sagas with an edge.
Janice P. (South Woodstock, VT)

The Heart's Invisible Furies
John Boyne is simply one of the great writers of our day. He's best known for one of his children's novels, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I think he deserves to be better known for his many novels for adults, including The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness. Boyne's gifts are his lucid, natural, storyteller's voice that hooks the reader from the first sentence, an engaging, unflinchingly honest and likable main character, and a deep sense moral outrage, directed at all forms of bigotry and cruelty, but most often at the abusive influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland, its misogyny and homophobia.It would be the reader's loss, though, to dismiss Boyne as a "gay novelist." His concern is the human condition.

All of Boyne's strengths are at work in his latest novel, and more besides -- it is an epic with a rare sense of humor, sometimes touching on farce, at other times pathos, and always with a firm grip on harsh reality and empathy for the sorrows that come to us all: loneliness, shame, loss. In nearly 600 pages we span the life of one Cyril Avery, from 1945 to the present day, from his birth out of wedlock to his upbringing as an adopted, mostly neglected, closeted gay in Dublin, and later, the life choices that propel him far beyond Ireland itself, and back again.Cyril is an astute observer of people he meets, the places he lives, and of history. We meet a cast of characters, we see sweeping social changes, even as Cyril changes himself, finds himself, and forges bonds he never expected.

Along the way, through Cyril's voice the author awakened me, more than any other writer has done, to what it is like, out of necessity or fear, to live every hour of every day in a lie: he takes the issue of homophobia out of the public arena and brings it into the human soul, making us feel the damage, the pain, and the ripple effect upon others. And he does it without bitterness, ruthlessly reminding us that some of the damage is self-inflicted, that choices, if hard, are no less real. For all its furies, he shows us, the heart is capable of brave and generous love.

Boyne dedicates this to John Irving, and I think he sells himself short: this is worthy of Charles DIckens.
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