My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)
Pages - 592
Publisher - Doubleday
Blurb from Goodreads
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 glamourous 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.
In this, Boyne's most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart's Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.
Hello 1945, we open in Cork with Catherine, sixteen years old and daughter to a Catholic family in a small town. Catherine is pregnant and publicly shamed by the priest before being forced to leave with very little in her pocket and all alone. A chance friendship sees her land in Dublin and there we tragically leave her and follow the life of Cyril Avery. Cyril was adopted so not a real Avery as he is reminded at all opportunities by his adoptive parents Charles and Maude. With a privileged upbringing but lacking in emotional stability, Cyril grows up to be an interesting young man. With a country ruled by a religious tight hold, Cyril struggled to be who he truly is and has to deal with the fall out of his lifes decisions.
Well I don't know what I was expecting when I started reading this but it wasn't the emotional gut wrenching journey I was taken on. Catherine, whilst playing minimal parts in the book is an amazingly strong character with more morals and scruples than some of the people of the cloth or esteemed societal figures in the book. A tale of coming of age, society's prejudices, sexism, homophobia, violence, extremism, family, personal growth, love and morals all play a part in this breath taking story.
It is a novel that is very brave, the author tackles many subjects that will raise tempers, emotions and even force readers to examine their own moral compass. Definitely one of my top reads, at moments I was rooting for Cyril and others so enraged by some of his decisions thinking noooo, why?!?!?!. I think many readers will identify with at least one aspect if not more of the book, either as the struggles Cyril has to survive and embrace or with the strength and growth of some amazing people. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this, I have read Boyne before and will be snapping up the rest of the back catalog as I enjoyed this one so much. A book that packs an emotive punch and leaves you thinking about it long after you have finished the last page, 5/5 for me!