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The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel by…
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The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel (original 2017; edition 2018)

by John Boyne (Author)

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1,9101357,655 (4.41)203
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 glamorous 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 novel we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man.… (more)
Member:Chicharro
Title:The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel
Authors:John Boyne (Author)
Info:Hogarth (2018), Edition: Reprint, 592 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne (2017)

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English (132)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
Well, I gave it 248 pages so I think that's more than fair. I wanted to know how Cyril's life turned out, but the book is slower than molasses in January and I just couldn't keep turning pages. This is my second Boyne DNF -- the first was [b:The Boy in the Striped Pajamas|39999|The Boy in the Striped Pajamas|John Boyne|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1366228171s/39999.jpg|1148702] -- so I'll just pass on by any of his other work.

I do concede that it has one heck of an opening sentence:
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.
  AuntieG0412 | Jan 23, 2023 |
I fell in love with the characters in this powerful story of living authentically and finding your own family through prejudice, heartbreak and coincidences. I loved the way that the reader got to drop in on Cyril Avery's life every seven years from 1945 to 2015, catching glimpses of historical events woven into his story.
( )
  Melanie_Knight | Dec 20, 2022 |
The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a sweeping saga, mostly set in Dublin, covering multiple generations of an unconventional family over a period of seventy years. It is the story of protagonist Cyril Avery, who is born in 1945 to an unwed mother and adopted by a distant self-absorbed couple. We follow his life as he matures, discovers his homosexuality, and leads a closeted life. In these years, homosexuality is illegal so he must conduct his sexual liaisons in secret. He develops a crush on Julian Woodbead, a childhood acquaintance who becomes a friend and the subject of his unrequited love. Cyril tries to convince himself to lead a so-called “normal” life by dating various women. He suffers, makes mistakes, and pays the price, endearing himself to reader in the process. It provides insight into the challenges of growing up gay in a disapproving society. This book’s timeless themes include the search for identity, the longing for acceptance, the need to develop a sense of home and family, and the desire to love and be loved.

The writing is superb, especially the dialogue, which provides laugh-out-loud humor to offset the abundant episodes of trauma, bigotry, and violent acts. Weighty topics are addressed, such as hate crimes, sex trafficking, and the AIDS epidemic. The story is structured in seven-year increments, during which Cyril experiences significant life events. The main characters are well-developed, especially Cyril and his birth mother, Catherine, whose story forms a subordinate plotline.

Boyne includes hard-hitting social commentary on the Catholic church and Irish social history as he confronts the homophobia and sexism of the mid-twentieth century. Cyril’s life mirrors the social changes being made in Ireland over the course of decades, moving from a time dominated by religion-dominated viewpoints and illegality to the passage of the marriage equality referendum, which parallels Cyril’s journey toward self-acceptance. It is filled with historical references, notable people, IRA violence, sexual content, and political and financial corruption.

It is an ambitious undertaking, though not without a few issues. It includes several stereotypical secondary characters, is a bit repetitious in places, and the primary narrative is carried by numerous unlikely coincidences. The epilogue, for a reason I could not discern, is written in a completely different style than the rest of the book. It is a lengthy book that occasionally indulges in superfluous side-stories.

Overall, I found this book engaging and look forward to reading more of this author’s work. Recommended to those that enjoy multi-generational family sagas and journeys of self-discovery.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
The title of John Boyne's 2017 novel “The Heart's Invisible Furies” stops you in your tracks. Does this really sound like something I want to read? What could it possibly be about? It sounds too serious, too angry, too challenging. The fact that it's 580 pages long is intimidating in itself.

I still can't decide if it's a good title or not, but I can now say it is a terrific novel, much easier to read than you might think but not so easy to grapple with.

This is the story of man's life, from birth to death. That man is Cyril Avery, who is not a real Avery, as his adoptive parents tell him repeatedly during his youth. Maude Avery, his adoptive mother, spends most of her time closed up in a room smoking cigarettes and writing novels she hopes nobody will ever read. (They do, and after her early death from cancer she becomes one of Ireland's greatest writers.) Charles Avery, his adoptive father, is a wealthy man but also a cheat, both on his wife and on his taxes.

As for his real mother and father, we read about them too. Catherine Goggin gets pregnant as a teenage girl, then is disowned by her parents and banned from the church and the town by an intolerant and hypocritical Irish priest. As this is Cyril's first-person account of his life, we know Catherine will reappear again somewhere in his story, and in fact she does several times. Their lives intersect at various points in their lives before they discover they are actually mother and son.

Irish intolerance shapes Cyril's own life, as he is a homosexual and Ireland despises homosexuals even more than it does unwed mothers, And so he must keep his heart's furies as invisible as possible, at least until he moves to Amsterdam later in his life. Before that, however, Cyril actually gets married and has a son, though not in that order. He deserts his wife immediately after the wedding ceremony, disappearing for years, leaving his bride in a country where divorce, too, is not tolerated.

If so much of the novel is about separation and distancing, Boyne eventually brings everyone together — mother and son, husband and wife, father and son, prodigal and homeland. Yes, the story is as serious as the title suggests, yet parts of it are as funny as anything P.G. Wodehouse ever wrote. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Oct 24, 2022 |
"I remember a friend of mine once telling me that we hate what we fear in ourselves."

"...their secretions, which seep forth from their appendages when aroused, are repellent. You're lucky that you will never have to endure the indignity of relations with the male member. The vagina is a much purer instrument. I Feel an admiration for the vagina that I simply have never felt toward the penis."

Though fiction, this reads a bit like an autobiography. Cyril Avery is given up for adoption by his mother, a 16-year-old teenager from a village in County Cork (where my ancestors are from), who is run out of town by the village priest for"her sins." Cyril is adopted by a wealthy family, but isn't really"loved" as their own. He learns early on that he likes boys, but more importantly, learns that he must hide this fact, as being gay in Ireland is against the law. As much gay literature runs, he too leads a terribly sad, lonely and violent life because of the stinking heterosexual, homophobic humans that surround us in this world. But read this; it's uplifting, at least in the end. And if you are not gay, you will get an idea of what a battle gays have to go through, just to live out their lives. Well, this is about a white, gay man, so at least his skin color wasn't one of his problems. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Boyne’s tiende roman voor volwassenen, vertelt ook een verhaal dat nooit gebeurd zou kunnen zijn, daarvoor hangt het te veel van toevalligheden aan elkaar. Toch blijf je bereid je ongeloof op te schorten, omdat je wilt weten hoe het verder gaat. Hoe de hoofdpersoon zich nu weer gaat redden uit de moeilijke situatie waarin hij, meestal door zijn eigen domme gedrag of dat van iemand anders, is terechtgekomen. En of hij zijn echte moeder ooit gaat vinden.
Dat Boyne de puzzelstukjes veel te mooi in elkaar laat vallen, vergeef je hem. Hij trakteert ons op zoveel spannende scènes, op grappige dialogen met mooie Iers-Engelse uitdrukkingen erin, en zelfs op ontroering. Bovendien is The Heart’s Invisible Furies, net als The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, duidelijk een bedacht verhaal, bedoeld om de wel waargebeurde geschiedenis te illustreren. Dat is Boyne dit keer heel goed gelukt.
 
John Boyne delivers an epic full of verve, humour and heart...This blending of fact and fiction recalls William Boyd’s masterly Any Human Heart, which was such a convincing fictionalised biography that it came with its own set of footnotes....At every stage, Boyne seems to be saying that the individual is more powerful than the institutional. And at its core, The Heart’s Invisible Furies aspires to be not just the tale of Cyril Avery, a man buffeted by coincidence and circumstance, but the story of Ireland itself.
 
The Heart’s Invisible Furies” is a big, sweeping novel, the epic story of one man’s life. It takes on social issues and pivotal moments in Irish history as it follows the life of one Cyril Avery, a Pip-like orphan raised by indifferent adoptive parents and forced to make his own way in a very difficult world.

Cyril, who narrates the book, is wry, observant and funny, and it is his voice that gets us through what are sometimes horrific events. ...Despite these missteps, the book never really flags, and Cyril’s intelligent, witty voice takes us all the way through to the end of his life. “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” is a brilliant, moving history of an Irishman, and of modern Ireland itself.
 
Catherine’s journey to Dublin is the beginning of a picaresque, lolloping odyssey for the individual characters and for the nation that confines them. ...Boyne’s sombre 2014 novel A History of Loneliness anatomised such corruption and abuse, and he returns to track these seismic changes in Irish society with a broader, bawdier and more comedic sweep of narrative in The Heart’s Invisible Furies....The book blazes with anger as it commemorates lives wrecked by social contempt and self‑loathing....The narrative energy flags somewhat as Cyril’s story approaches the present day. Boyne’s fictional portrait of postwar Ireland and its people is nightmarish but utterly compelling
 
The book deals with some serious subject matter – gay-bashing, political corruption, AIDS – as well as the brutal sadness of being an other in a society that does not tolerate or even acknowledge others. But too often, Boyne goes for laughs to the detriment of the narrative. Some of the passages – the dialogue in particular – are indeed funny, but by sacrificing authenticity for a cheap laugh, he does a disservice to his story...My other beef with this book, which I tried so desperately to like, is the virtual disappearance of Kitty. While she does pop up at points in the book, it is never as a fully realized character....The novel's most successful moments come when Boyne scraps the comedy shtick and paints a more realistic picture of tender connections and difficult circumstances. This could have been a smart, raging satire of Ireland, as that tremendous opening sentence promised
 
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Epigraph
" Am I alone in thinking that the world becomes a more repulsive place every day?" asked Marigold, glancing across the breakfast table toward her husband , Christopher. " Actually," he replied, "I find that ---" "The question was rhetorical ,"said Marigold, lighting a cigarette, her sixth of the day. " Please don't embarrass yourself by offering an opinion."

- Maude Avery , Like to the Lark, ( The Vico Press, 1950 )
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For John Irving
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Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and in Clonakilty, Father James Munroe stood on the alter of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.
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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 more glamorous 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 novel we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man.

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