- Hardcover: 592 pages
- Publisher: Hogarth; 1st Edition edition (August 22, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1524760781
- ISBN-13: 978-1524760786
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 461 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel Hardcover – August 22, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of August 2017: Sweeping, magnetic—John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel so grounded in a single character, but it dexterously expands into a fully realized portrait of humanity in all of its messy glory. The author of the bestselling (not to mention heartbreaking) novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, has crafted a story that has all the feels – it’s genuinely funny, romantically tragic, with moments of sickening violence and then just as quickly redemptive resilience. Set in Post-War Ireland, when intolerance cloaked in Catholicism is at its height, we follow the lifespan of the adopted boy Cyril Avery. On the first page, Cyril introduces us to his birth mother and the circumstances in which he was born, and for the rest of the book, the reader is in Boyne’s capable hands: waiting, wondering, clamoring to know when he will meet his birth mother and how it will be uncovered that they are related. Told in seven year increments, taking the reader from Dublin to Amsterdam to New York and back, we bear witness to Cyril’s life alongside the cultural and societal evolution of Ireland. Weaving in and out of chance encounters with his birth mother, love affairs, decades-long friendships and bitter wounds from the past, Boyne has paced this novel perfectly, providing the reader one of the greatest gifts that fiction can deliver: hope. --Al Woodworth
Praise for The Heart's Invisible Furies:
Finalist for the 2018 LAMBDA Literary Awards
Finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction
“By turns whimsical and heartbreaking, Boyne’s sprawling novel treads Dickensian territory across seven decades of Irish history, ending with a redemption for both a country and a native son.”
"Bleak, bittersweet, and Irish to the bone... explore[s] the relationship between Catholicism and patriarchy in midcentury Ireland and beyond."
– O, The Oprah Magazine
“A picaresque, lolloping odyssey for the individual characters and for the nation that confines them…The book blazes with anger as it commemorates lives wrecked by social contempt and self‑loathing…. a substantial achievement.”
– The Guardian
"With intricate narrative precision, The Heart’s Invisible Furies cuts to the heart of what family is, how it is chosen, and how it endures. And it is charming and funny, even as it dives down from the precipice of endearing humor into the very specific ironies and cruelties of real life…. characters are cinematically rendered, with a deft, decadent wit that will make you laugh aloud at least once. Searing heartbreak; loneliness; a quest for internal and external redemption, solace, and contentment are all there in The Heart’s Invisible Furies."
– The Millions
“This is nothing less than the story of Ireland over the past 70 years, expressed in the life of one man…highly entertaining and often very funny…Big and clever.”
– The Times Sunday Review
“An epic full of verve, humour and heart… sure to be read by the bucketload… deeply cinematic [and] extremely funny.”
– The Irish Times
"Boyne writes scenes that will make a reader laugh and cry—without saccharine sentiment or flippancy. Infused with heart and humor, as well as a keen sense of man’s capacity for cruelty, The Heart’s Invisible Furies pulsates with life’s complexity and progress’ slow march.”
"A big, sweeping novel...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.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The most inviting and completely spellbinding book this author has ever written...an outstandingly memorable achievement.”
– Christian Science Monitor
“This in-depth look at the life of one adopted man in post-war Ireland will make you laugh, weep, and live-tweet at two in the morning.”
– Brit + Co
“More than a coming-of-age story, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is one man’s journey from persecution to toleration….The novel… delights."
“Enchanting... Boyne explores Cyril’s life in luscious detail… With evocative descriptions of each city and fateful plot turns that twist the narrative in surprising ways, Boyne adroitly captures Cyril’s shifting identity as he grapples with nationality, class, and sexuality. The book becomes both an examination of Cyril’s life and a catalogue of Western society’s evolution from post-war to present day, with all its failings, triumphs, complexities, and certainties… The life of Cyril Avery is one to be relished.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Boyne, who has a wonderful gift for characterization, does a splendid job of weaving these various lives together in ways that are richly dramatic, sometimes surprising, and always compelling… Often quite funny, the story nevertheless has its sadness, sometimes approaching tragedy. Utterly captivating and not to be missed.”
– Booklist (starred review)
“With quick strokes and bitter humor, Boyne’s opening scene encapsulates the Irish church’s hypocrisy… Boyne continues his crusading ways with the quiet keening of this painful, affecting novel”
– Kirkus (starred review)
“Cyril’s life story is extraordinary, tragic, and triumphant… Boyne dedicates his wise, beautiful 15th novel to John Irving. This tribute fits a story calling to mind the humane sagas of T.S. Garp, Owen Meaney, and the humble tale of Piggy Sneed. Readers will fall in love with Boyne’s characters, especially Mrs. Goggin and Cyril’s adoptive mother, Maude Avery, in this heartbreaking and hilarious story.”
– Library Journal
“By turns savvy, witty, and achingly sad…This is a novelist at the top of his game.”
– Mail on Sunday
“An epic novel…. The Heart’s Invisible Furies proves that John is not just one of Ireland’s best living novelists but also one of the best novelists of Ireland.”
“Boyne creates lightness out of doom, humour out of desperately sad situations… a terrific read.”
– Press Association
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This book just teems with sympathetic but real characters. There's not a caricature in the bunch, nor is there an overwritten sentence. John Boyne's book is long - almost 600 pages - but I read it in one 24 hour period. I'm not going to make this a long review. All I can say is to please, please read this book. Along with Edward Kelsey Moore's new novel, "The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues", John Boyne's book are the two best novels of the year. I'm hoping "The Heart's Invisible Furies" will be issued in audible as it will make a marvelous listening experience.
Of course Ireland was not alone in this (there are other horrific events in other countries), but the overreaching influence of the priests and the church was paramount in the outcome of Cyril's fate. So, in the final reckoning, this really is about a coming of age, but instead of for a man, for a country, for Ireland. Totally immersive for its nearly 600 pages, this book is very highly recommended.
Many passages are filled with pathos. However, there are events described on one particular page that I found heart crushing. It is so vivid and rings true for the era in which it was written – it will make you gasp. In all honesty, I keep thinking about this passage and wonder how evolved and/or tolerant we are today.
Early in reading this, I realized that I must read other books by John Boyne. So, I treated myself and don’t feel completely bereft of his descriptions, dialogues, characterizations, themes or plot lines.
This is Cyril’s journey and it was my good fortune to happen across Jill M.’s review of this book. I refer readers to her review – at the time I skimmed her review, I believe that it was the only one posted. Since that time many more terrific reviews have been posted. However, I thank Jill M. for her review which I fully read [carefully] once I completed this wonderful book.
Cyril has great humanity, resilience and tenacity.
Do you know the shape of your heart's invisible furies?
In my humble opinion, this is a book that should be read.