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The Heart's Invisible Furies by John…
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The Heart's Invisible Furies

by John Boyne

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6118194,696 (4.69)5

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
One of the best books that I have read in a long time. As so many reviewers before me that have also loved this 5 Star book. Just have to agree with them. Why repeat ? ( )
  cindysprocket | Jun 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
***NO SPOILERS***

The last book I read that was this uproariously funny and gut-wrenching in equal measure was Angela's Ashes, coincidentally also by an Irish author and also a major award-winner. Yes, I’m jumping the gun in saying “also a major award-winner,” but I’m confident The Heart’s Invisible Furies will win at least one prestigious award. There’s little about this deeply moving and immersive story that isn’t perfect. Boyne realized an ambitious premise, and he did so with a thoughtful touch.

With its wide scope, honest and introspective narrator, and assorted entertaining characters, The Heart’s Invisible Furies has some parallels to The Goldfinch. This story even travels to some of the same places as does that story, and dashes of suspense and drama keep the line of tension tight. However, the similarities end there. Its plentiful humor, Irish protagonist, and theme make it very different. At times the story is bawdy and very frankly sexual. Some intensely violent scenes drive home just how frightening life is for the main character. Over and over, I felt infuriated, shocked, annoyed, amused, and tearful. Boyne accomplished what he set out to do: plunk me right in the middle of a repressive, strict Catholic Ireland.

At just under 600 pages, the book is a commitment, but it reads fast. The pacing is even, and scenes move fluidly from one to the next. The story also unfolds primarily via lively dialogue, for which Boyne has a remarkably good ear. His writing is direct but not overly simplistic. It’s a good example of how accomplished writing isn’t the same as florid writing packed with metaphors and similes. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a deeply felt work of literary fiction that’s beautiful because of all it has to say, not so much because of how it says it. What makes this book a cut above, though, is how Boyne expertly counterbalanced heavy scenes with light scenes. A premise of such emotional magnitude can easily dip into depressing, but Boyne never let that happen. I was as amused as I was saddened.

I could write a much longer, much more laudatory review--the book would merit it!--but I’ll end here by saying The Heart’s Invisible Furies is easily one of my top books of the year. I think it’ll stand the test of time. ( )
1 vote Caroline77 | Jun 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved this book. This is the second of his I've read, the other being the Absolutist, and while both share many of the same themes, this book is a broader, more sweeping story that carried me into another world and life.

It begins in rural Ireland in 1945 with Cyril Avery's teenage mother being humiliated and thrown out of town by her parish priest. She moves to Dublin and gives him up for adoption. His story is told in seven year increments and we watch him grow from a lonely 7 year old to a young man dealing with his homosexuality. He goes to a priest for confession and help and is told "There are no homosexuals in Ireland" and it is against the law there. Much of the story is very gritty and dark but Boyne also writes with humor as he describes Avery's struggle with his desires and fear of disclosure. This basic dishonesty colors every relationship. His characters are all unique and really come to life. This adds to the depth and complexity of the story. There are many unbelievable coincidences but they serve the story well.

Boyne is an amazing author and his books are a real treasure. I look forward to reading more and recommend him to all readers of literary fiction. ( )
1 vote Oregonreader | Jun 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
(29) I loved this. Cyril Avery, adopted by odd but rich parents and thrust into 1950's Ireland with the dawning realization that he is in love with his roommate at boarding school. As he is told by a prriest in confession one day, "There are no homosexuals in this country'' - so he therefore finds himself in a bit of a jam. The novel is Cyril's bildungsroman from his conception to his death. It is a fabulous tale full of heartbreak, serendipity, hilarity, absurdity, and love. It is one of those rambling novels that inevitably some readers will say "where was his editor?" - but I found it charming.

I thought in particular the dialogue was great. Cyril's banter with Alice, and his 'adoptive' father, Charles, made me laugh out loud at times on a plane with a stranger next to me. It is one of those books you just get lost in rather like 'On Human Bondage' by Somerset Maugham, 'The Children's Book' by A.S. Byatt, or 'Life after Life' by Kate Atkinson come to mind.

I had an opportunity to read it while on vacation with a lot of free time in big chunks and I found it just the right thing. Engaging, transporting, life-affirming, funny, cinematic. I think it will do well, one of my favorite reads in a long time. Very grateful to LT for an early reviewer copy - not sure it is one I would have bought otherwise. I will miss Cyril! ( )
  jhowell | Jun 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Don't be deterred by the focus on gay romance and the difficulties faced by gays in Ireland. This is a heartwarming story spanning generations . The author very cleverly intertwines a number of plot twists and keeps reintroducing them. I really enjoyed this book. ( )
  Doondeck | Jun 14, 2017 |
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