A stunning piece of storytelling by a genius at his best is how I’d describe The Heart’s Invisible Furies.
Beginning in 1945 with one of the most vivid scenes of any opening chapters I have read we see Catherine Goggin being shamed in her parish church which will send shivers down your spine and a stark reminder of how life was in Ireland not so long ago.
I absolutely loved Boyne’s style of writing, there’s humour, sadness, sex, lots of it, love, death, murder and his writing is sharp, crisp and fresh, visual, descriptive and confident.
This is the story of Cyril Avery. Although he 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 three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.
Boyne is at his best with the dialogue, there are so many wonderful interactive. He weaves in digs at the pillars of Irish society over the past 50 years which are fantastic, particularly the references to Charlie Haughey which are all so true. The scenes in the Dail are hilarious and capture the TD’s perfectly and leaves the reader guessing who Andrew might be.. And I particularly loved the comment that only Irish male writers are on tea towels
It’s a book as much about love as it is about Ireland over the last 50 years and how as a society it has come to terms, or maybe not, with homosexuality.
This is a book that will make you laugh, cry, ask questions about yourself and give you an understanding of what life was like growing up in Ireland anytime in the past 50 years for people who didn’t conform to the Catholic Church’s views.