The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a book recommended to me by a friend; I love it when I find a good book that I know I never would have picked up on my own. This is the story of Cyril Avery, an Irish boy born out of wedlock and immediately adopted into a well-to-do home. However, for all his creature comforts, Cyril is neglected emotionally, and his growth into an emotionally stable adult is a theme throughout the book. Since the story is told in first person from Cyril’s perspective, the reader gets insights into what he is thinking, the secrets he keeps, and his internal struggles that aren’t evident to the other characters. The other theme of the book is sexuality, including both heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity, and how that is tolerated (or not) in Ireland from 1940 until current day. The book is divided into sections based on decades. I found it fascinating to see how sexuality evolved through the years from the first-hand perspective of someone who directly experienced it. Being American, I didn’t realize the nuances and religious forces that influenced these changes in Ireland, so I enjoyed learning about them. As far as characters, I’m not sure I liked Cyril, our first-person author, but that’s not a bad thing. I’m not sure I liked Scarlett O’Hara either and she’s one of my favorite characters. Cyril as a character was very well-developed; his voice remained consistent over the years, but the author does a great job of evolving him as he ages. He becomes more accepting of who he is, wiser, and more forgiving, and don’t we all hope to do that as we grow and change? By the end, all the threads of the book have come full circle and Boyne leaves the reader with a satisfying conclusion to the story. (I have to admit, I was a blubbering mess as I read the last chapter.) Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found it wordy at times, but kept coming back to it for the characters and for Cyril’s journey. I know Boyne is more well-known for his Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I think this one is just as good.
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