The Heart’s Invisible Furies // John Boyne

I finally did it- I read the book that was everyone’s favorite last year.  And guess what?  I loved every word!  I honestly couldn’t get enough of The Heart’s Invisible Furies.  It was such a roller coaster of emotions; it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me smile, and it broke my heart, all while becoming my favorite read of the year so far.  I’m always cautious reading crazy-hyped books, but I’m happy I finally caved because this one did not disappoint!


From the back cover:

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 many years will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.


I adore interconnected stories, and the characters of The Heart’s Invisible Furies are so twined together that it actually boggled my mind.  The story begins as Cyril is an unborn baby still in his mother’s womb, and then it continues to follow Cyril throughout his life until he is seventy years old, with chapters peeping in every seven years.  Cyril is surrounded by the same cast of characters for the entirety of the book: his adoptive parents Charles and Maude Avery, his best friend Julian, Julian’s sister Alice, and many more.  In each chapter, Cyril crosses paths with his birth mother, and eventually they grow to have a friendship though neither of them know of their true relation to each other.  Each of their interactions felt like a little tease, and Boyne really got me rooting for them to figure it out!  The story built until their final reconciliation, in which everything finally came full circle.  I’ve never read a more satisfying ending!


“A line came into my mind, something that Hannah Arendt once said about the poet Auden: that life had manifested the heart’s invisible furies on his face.”

-John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies


The Heart’s Invisible Furies has a unique narration style; seventy-year-old Cyril narrates the entirety of the story, so reading his younger self was interesting because it came from a wiser, older point of view instead of a naive, adolescent one.  Boyne writes with a unique sense of humor and witty dialogue that made me actually laugh out loud at times.  It’s the kind of dry(ish) humor that not everyone likes or understands, and I think a lot of what made me love this book is that I clicked with Boyne’s sense of humor.  It did take me a second to get used to his style, but once I got into it I absolutely flew through the book.  I read the second half in just a day or two.


“If there is one thing I’ve learned in more than seven decades of life, it’s that the world is a completely fucked-up place.  You never know what’s around the corner and it’s often something unpleasant.”

-John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies


If you haven’t yet read The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I would strongly recommend that you jump on the bandwagon.  It’s an emotional coming-of-age story with brilliantly intertwined characters that you’ll want to hug when you finish.  You won’t be disappointed!

You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon.

Published by

Hannah and Her Books

Book person.

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