Updated: Mar 30, 2020
The September book choice for Random Readers Book Club was The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne. This was my first John Boyne novel and it will not be my last. I was intimidated by the hefty size of this book (550+ pages!) but wow, was it incredible. This character driven story wrapped me into the story and allowed me to savor every word. This is one of those books where you have to read it sometime in your lifetime and is currently at the top as one of my all time favorite books.
The Heart's Invisible Furies follows the life of Cyril Avery. Cyril was adopted at birth by his non-conventional parents, Charles and Maude. Charles is a banker, who is frequently under investigation for tax fraud, and Maude is a writer who spends her days locked in her study with cigarettes and her novels. Charles and Maude are not typical Dubliners and raise Cyril in a way where he acts like an adult at a very young age and quickly becomes self sufficient. They remind Cyril daily that he is not a "real" Avery and that they are his adoptive parents, yet they provide him a lovely home and satisfy his physical needs. At the young age of seven, Cyril meets Julian and they quickly become close friends. The story follows Cyril's life as he navigates Dublin as a young, gay man, in a time when being homosexual is against the law. The Roman Catholic church drives the government and a simple rumor could send Cyril instantly to jail. The Heart's Invisible Furies follows Cyril's life from a young child, fantasizing about his best friend, to an elderly man who is open and secure in his sexuality. Cyril's story is incredibly heartbreaking, but also so deep and heartwarming.
Boyne's dry, sarcastic humor in this novel is literally everything I love. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed some more. Cyril is quick witted and sarcastic, with a surprisingly good outlook on life, given what he experiences along the way. I loved getting to know his character and I became incredibly emotionally invested in his story. Cyril struggled so many times in his young life, hiding his sexuality for fear that he could be arrested, or worse, murdered. The anger I felt during portions of this book left me feeling emotionally exhausted, but on the flip side, the witty text kept me laughing. Boyne has a way with writing where he brings you to the depths of your soul, your heart torn in two, but then laughing hysterically on the next page. He is brilliant! I am looking forward to reading more of his books.
I do not want to give any spoilers, but the ending of this book was so incredibly satisfying. Cyril goes through some very traumatic circumstances and I was nervous about how the book would end, but the resolution and ultimate hope at the end was beautiful. I felt like the ending gives the reader complete closure. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne is hands down, a solid ★★★★★ novel that everyone should read. This is one of those books that I will tell my children to read, years from now. It was incredibly written and it taught me a lot about a world I am not too familiar with. It brought me outside of my comfort zone, broke my heart, mended it back up, and kept me in stitches.
If you have read The Heart's Invisible Furies, I would love to chat about it. If you haven't, I highly recommend you pick it up soon!