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December 18, 2018

The Heart's Invisible Furies



The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Fiction
2017 Hogarth
Finished on February 8, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good!)

Publisher's Blurb:

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man's life, beginning and ending in postwar Ireland.

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 close 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, 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 that sparks both laughter and tears while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

What a terrific story! I read The Boy in Striped Pajamas (reviewed here) several years ago, but I never would have guessed this was written by the same author. Spanning 70 years, this achingly sad, yet witty novel is reminiscent of A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving). There's tenderness that will bring a tear to your eye and laugh out loud humor to add levity to Boyne's tragic tale. After the disappearance of one of the early characters, and the promiscuity of another, I almost gave up on the novel, but I'm glad I continued reading as this is one of the best books I've read this year. I did find myself shaking my head at the multiple coincidences and chance occurrences that took place over so many years, but decided to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the story. It is fiction, after all. Now to get a copy of The Absolutist and Boyne's new release, A Ladder to the Sky!

10 comments:

  1. I keep hearing good things about this book. I loved Owen Meany and need to try to get to this soon.

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    1. Kathy, I know a few readers gave up on this one, but it is a gem. Hope you get to it soon.

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  2. This has been on my TBR list for a while, I'm glad you enjoyed it - perhaps 2019 will be the year for this book.

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    1. Diane, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I still find myself thinking about the characters.

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  3. I'm curious about your comparison to Owen Meany -- I read it a long time ago and found it intriguing. But why are they similar? I wish you had written more.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Mae Travels, it isn't the characters as much as the feeling of the novel. Much like Owen Meany, it encompasses the entire life of the main character, weaving into the story historical details of the period. The bond of friendship between two of the characters reminded me of the one in Owen Meany, between Owen and John. I thought the characterization was superb.

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  4. I just wasn't engaging with this when I tried it last winter (unfortunately in the middle of a reading slump). My SIL read my copy and enjoyed it. She thought I might, too, at another time. It's still on my shelf in FL. Maybe this year...

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    1. JoAnn, I remember chatting about this when you decided to give up on the book. I hope you'll give it another try this winter. It was so good, I know I'll read it again. :)

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  5. One of the best books you read last year? It sounds like a book I should read.

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    1. Deb, it is very high on my Best of 2018 list! I didn't read nearly as many books as I have in the past, but there were several winners.

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