The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I could finish this opinion of The Heart’s Invisible Furies with just that one word and mean every word of it.
John Boyne has given us an amazingly well told story of Ireland from the 1940s until now through one man, Cyril Avery’s life. Cyril was born to teenaged Catherine Goggin who is cast out of her village by the priest. Literally tossed out on her ear during Sunday Mass for being a whore. In 1940s Ireland that’s what an unwed pregnant girl was, plain and simple.
Cyril was adopted by Charles and Maude Avery and reminded every single day of his life that he “wasn’t a real Avery.” But they didn’t beat him so he considered himself ahead.
One day, when he is seven years old, Cyril meets Julian Woodbead and a lifelong obsession/friendship is born. Throughout his life, Cyril is haunted by his friendship with Julian, the happenstances of his life, his lot in life, and the choices he has to make. It’s hard, he doesn’t get it right most of the time but he never stops trying to figure it out, not ever. It's that trying and the rewards he earns for trying that keeps him and the reader going. We, like Cyril, never give up on him.
I stayed up late into the night reading this book. The depth of the story, the story of the morality of Ireland as lived by one single person and how one person must make do and make a life within the constraints of Catholic Irish morals and the cost of it, well, it was quite un-put-downable.
You know how it is when you have a book in your hand that’s so good you can’t stop reading it but you don’t want it to end because then what? This is one of those.
Oh, and there were many times when, sitting on the porch of an evening reading, I’d laugh out loud with only myself to understand.