The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne book review

I’ve had about a week now to think about what I thought of The Heart’s Invisible Furies. My instant thought after finishing it was that it was one of the best books I’ve ever read and will go down for a very long as one of my favourite books of all time. Over a week later, I still think the same. This is such a damn good book.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a story of Cyril Avery and his journey from boy to old man from the 50s right through to the early 2010s. The main topic of discussion is his sexuality – Cyril is gay. Additionally, he’s gay during a time when it’s shunned to be so and also in Ireland where it’s even more dangerous to be so. The story talks of his loves, his losses, and his ongoing relationship with Julian, essentially the person who made him realise he was gay. It’s heartbreaking, heartfelt and full of heart.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies plot – 4.75/5

I often discuss how a good plot can have twists or lots of action – I wouldn’t necessarily say that The Heart’s Invisible Furies has any of these. However, what it does have is a story about a human being that will keep a firm grasp on your heart throughout and toy with it as it wishes.

John Boyne has written a book here that impressed me both with its writing but also with the way that he has written a story about a character who is utterly enthralling.

Cyril struggles with almost every oppression a gay man can – violence, prejudice, misunderstanding and ignorance, among many other things. A lot happens to Cyril throughout his long life and a lot of is in incredibly hard. So if you’re somebody who struggles with a sad story, this may not be the one for you.

However, if you can handle that, you’re going to read one of the most impactful, powerful and beautiful books you’ve ever read that will leave you feeling like you’ve lived the life of Cyril yourself.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies characters – 4.75/5

If writing a beautiful story that had me utterly engrossed in Cyril’s story wasn’t enough for John Boyne, he also decided to include some of the most incredible characters too.

Cyril himself is one of the very few first-person-written protagonists I have ever read that I’ve deeply enjoyed. Too often, the main protagonist is there to serve as a vessel for the events going on around them and then writing them first-person can often limit the ability to give personality to other characters, but John Boyne does not struggle with that here.

Using the combination of present tense, memories, excerpts of his life and Cyril’s thoughts, John Boyne has written a wealth of fantastic human beings.

The thing that I always say will decide for whether the characters are truly any good is whether they’re flawed or not. Cyril himself is a kind person but he says mean things sometimes because he thinks them. Julian, his best friend and a regular feature of the book is charismatic but flawed in his ideals and clearly affected by his less-than-caring father.

And they’re not the only two with depth that’ll make you wonder if they’re really real or not, the book is filled with a host of people Cyril meets throughout his life who have been brilliantly written.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies – 4.75/5

I don’t give books a 5/5 rating because I feel no book is perfect. However, The Heart’s Invisible Furies would be the first in line if I ever did. This book will beat you up, pick you up again, dust you off and then make you look back at everything you’ve read and realise you’ve read a masterpiece. A combination of incredible writing, beautiful characters and almost perfect storytelling make The Heart’s Invisible Furies one of the greatest books I’ve ever, and I can tell you now, will likely ever read in my life. This will now be a book I tell everybody is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read.

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