The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Dear Fellow Reader,

Wow! What a year. I don’t know about you but I am overwhelmed by the news. I stopped reading and watching for several weeks. It was a relief but at some point I stuck my head back out to see what was going on. I haven’t immediately withdrawn again but there are times I wish I had.

I find that all the turbulence affects my reading. Yes, I have been reading but I have read many lighter fare mysteries that I can get lost in. At the start of the quarantine, I was behind on my Goodreads goal for the year. I am now 9 books ahead and I will easily admit that it certainly is not due to reading only great pieces of literature. But at the same time, I am thankful to those authors for their writing. They provide entertainment and present different points of view.

The book I want to introduce you to this week is NOT one of my lighter reads. As fair warning, it is a long book.

The Hearts Invisible Furies is the story of Cyril Avery. Cyril Avery is born in Ireland in 1945. Cyril is born to a single mother who was declared indecent by her local Catholic priest during Mass and thrown out of her home. His mother left for Dublin where she gave birth and gave him to a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun. Cyril is adopted by a wealthy couple who insist that he refer to them as his adoptive parents and is constantly told that he is not a real Avery.

Cyril is gay. Gay is not allowed in Ireland during the time he was growing up. It was punishable by jail and the Garda loved to beat up and imprison gay people. The Catholic Church had a firm hold on the country and there was no room for someone to be gay in Ireland. So, Cyril had to hide his true nature and spent 25 years feeling bad about himself and trying to hide his nature. When he leaves Ireland, he begins to find acceptance in the world but also heartbreak. Finally, as times change, he returns to Ireland to live out the end of his life.

The book shows us how ignorance can inflict pain and suffering on people – just for being who they are. Showing Cyril’s perspective from 1945 to about 2015 is enlightening for all the changes that have taken place in Ireland and the world.

Also, if you are unfamiliar with the control that the Catholic Church held in Ireland then it will be an eye opener for you.

The description of the book says that it will make you laugh and cry. I have to say that I didn’t laugh. While Cyril’s parents are different and probably the most humorous of all the characters, they are not laugh out loud characters. Cyril’s insecurities color most scenes. I felt so bad for Cyril and all he went through. But in case you are thinking that this book sounds like a downer that you wouldn’t want to read, it isn’t. Cyril goes through a lot, but he grows and finds a place of happiness and acceptance. He learns to believe in himself.

Yes, it is long. Yes, it is sad at times. But it is a worthwhile read. The other thing about the book is that the author ties all the characters together in remarkable ways. You might think someone is a minor character, but they won’t be by the end. Also, you wonder how long it will take two of the characters to figure out their relationship.

This is one of the best books I have read this year.

Thank you for reading!

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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