The Heart's Invisible Furies
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man's life, beginning and ending in post-war IrelandCyril 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 many years 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.

The Heart's Invisible Furies Details

TitleThe Heart's Invisible Furies
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseAug 22nd, 2017
PublisherHogarth Press
ISBN1524760781
ISBN-139781524760786
Number of pages592 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Ireland

The Heart's Invisible Furies Review

  • Elyse
    March 24, 2017
    I finished this seconds ago.... THE BEST NOVEL of 2017......It's not only a FAVORITE-FAVORITE....It makes my top 10 BEST BOOKS in at least the last 5 or 6 years!!!! PHENOMENAL- long - lush perfectly escapist read!!!!I read this book SLOW -- I SERIOUSLY LOVED it soooooo MUCH I'm 'ga-ga'/goo-goo' over this novel!!! I'm sorry it's over --- I can't imagine starting another book: THIS novel has EVERYTHING I want in a powerful saga... AND MORE:.....It's set against the dramatic backdrop of Irish polit I finished this seconds ago.... THE BEST NOVEL of 2017......It's not only a FAVORITE-FAVORITE....It makes my top 10 BEST BOOKS in at least the last 5 or 6 years!!!! PHENOMENAL- long - lush perfectly escapist read!!!!I read this book SLOW -- I SERIOUSLY LOVED it soooooo MUCH I'm 'ga-ga'/goo-goo' over this novel!!! I'm sorry it's over --- I can't imagine starting another book: THIS novel has EVERYTHING I want in a powerful saga... AND MORE:.....It's set against the dramatic backdrop of Irish political/ cultural Catholic Church in Ireland in the 20th century. .....I got a deeper experience about The Parliament of Ireland - The Dial Eiereann - TD Bankers - oppression- bigotry - discrimination - hostility towards gays - and hostility towards Ireland. THOUGHTS ABOUT IRELAND in the 40's - 50's. 60's: ......"There's not a nation on the face of the planet more obsessed with sex"...... "A degenerate race. No one talks about sex, yet it's all they think about".....( says one New Yorker character in the story). ......"Ireland is a backward place – – people with no empathy for anyone" ( says a character in Amsterdam) ......Belvedere College is a catholic college for boys: .... The society of Jesus- Its run by Jesuit priests. -- Homosexuality was considered a sin - Boys who are caught holding hands with another boy....would result in being expelled from the school. Gays were called 'nanny-boys', 'perverts' 'fags', deviants, etc. .......The author, John Boyle... really drives home for the reader what Dublin, the Nation's Capital was like starting from the 40's .... with abusive Priests, conniving churchman, adulterous husband, miserable bigots, paupers who receive no help from the state, a town filled with innocents, and millionaires who suck the lifeblood from it. We see the changes in Ireland through the years: slowly.... ending in the year 2015. ......THIS IS A JUICY - PAGE TURNING EMOTIONALLY riveting journey with ......FANTASTIC Memorable characters...............with Incredibly non- stop treasure STORYTELLING- surprises - ongoing - ITS SO DAMN GREAT!!!! Funny - shocking- leaving the reader excited to see what's coming down the pipeline next!!!!! I've pages and pages of highlighting notes on my kindle -- FEEL FREE TO READ THROUGH THEM. I was so SPENT after reading this ALL DAY TODAY....and much of yesterday...... that I'm now a little lazy to write a detail review....BUT YOU DONT NEED IT!!!! It will be soooo enjoyable to discover all the many treasures!!!!! GREAT DISCUSSION BOOK .....BECAUSE YOU'LL miss this novel so much when it ends - you'll be excited to talk about it with other people! I can't wait!!! I laughed - I cried - I discussed ( while laughing), this with my husband: things like: an ear - a toe - a thumb - a syringe - the scrotum - or even "remembering to comb your hair"..... and "remember where you are and what you've come here to do"..... This will ALL HAVE MUCH MORE MEANING WHEN 'YOU' READ THE BOOK!!! Lots of TALK about SEX.... [A HOT TOPIC].... From Ireland to Amsterdam to New York ...back to Ireland.....I WAS NEVER BORED --- NEVER!!!! I didn't want the book to end!!!Meet sexy handsome outgoing best friend Julian. A 'charmer'....woman and men flock to him. Julian is Cyril's best friend. Cyril is gay. Julian is straight - Cyril has an obsessive secret love crush for Julian - Cyril fantasizes having sex with Julian. Meet Good girl Mary Margaret Muffet: FUNNY DIALOGUE in every scene she is in!!She becomes Cyril's first fiancé. Meet Alice -- who is left at the altar once. She marries again: even more drama!! Meet Catherine Goggin.... manages a Tea cafe - much more to learn about this awesome powerhouse woman. Meet Bastiaan - A research scientist... A doctor of communicable disease. He's from Amsterdam.... and there is a love story... I've only shared a few tidbits- BUT NO SPOILERS .ITS THE BEST BEST BEST BOOK!!!! Once in Amsterdam----visit galleries, Books stores , street artists, enjoy cycling, sightseeing,..... the cultured life that Cyril didn't have in Dublin. Sooo many wonderful scenes! I HOPE this book becomes a movie - and more than that ..... I hope it wins awards after awards after awards!!!! Highly HIGHLY recommended!!!!!!!!5 STRONG STARSThank You Crown Publishing, Netgalley, and John Boyne
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  • Paromjit
    April 9, 2017
    The Catholic Church has an unpardonable and deplorable history mired in horrors such as support for fascist regimes in Spain, Germany, Italy, its oppositon to liberation theology whilst buttressing the power of the tyrannical dictators of South and Central America and its brutal history in Ireland. John Boyne embodies the heartbreaking history of Ireland and the Catholic Church in the post war years from 1945 to 2015 through the ordinary life and times of Cyril Avery. It is ambitious, moving, un The Catholic Church has an unpardonable and deplorable history mired in horrors such as support for fascist regimes in Spain, Germany, Italy, its oppositon to liberation theology whilst buttressing the power of the tyrannical dictators of South and Central America and its brutal history in Ireland. John Boyne embodies the heartbreaking history of Ireland and the Catholic Church in the post war years from 1945 to 2015 through the ordinary life and times of Cyril Avery. It is ambitious, moving, unforgettable and epic in scope, incorporating real life characters and events, and documents the ground breaking shifts in Irish attitudes and culture. It begins with a vicious and hypocritical priest publicly denouncing the pregnant Catherine as a whore in public, with the support of her family and expelling her. Her son, Cyril, is adopted by Roger and Maud Avery, who inform Cyril that he is not family, simply a family tenant for the period of 18 years. Cyril lives in Dublin, Amsterdam and the city of New York. Cyril comes to realise that he is gay in a society that condemns and criminalises him, ensuring that he is fearful and secretive whilst igniting an unbearable self hatred within him. The sanctimonious, misogynist, and judgemental Catholic church refers to being gay as a mortal sin, sanctioning punitive communities who relish in gossip that shred lives and reputations with impunity. The most important people in Cyril's life are childhood friend, Julian Woodbead who he meets when he is 7 years old and the dedicated and insightful Dutch docter, Bastiaan, encountered in Amsterdam who views Irish attitudes with bemusement. There is much sex and the deployment of the blackest of comedy and humour in the horrors, misfortunes and trials that befall Cyril through the years. This is a coming of age story, an emotional search for a sense of identity, home and country. Boyne's justifiable rage at a church and nation that inflicts such harrowing damage to its citizens is something I wholeheartedly share in spades. A Catholic Church bought to its knees by abuse and scandals is a welcome progressive development in Irish history, the people voting for gay marriage even more so. However, it barely atones for what happens to Cyril and others like him. This is a savagely funny and entertaining read with a emotional and compelling narrative with such heart. The prose is beautifully expressive, vital and vivid. The character of Cyril is brilliantly developed to chime with Irish history. There are perhaps some questionable coincidences but they do not prevent the enjoyment of the story. I particularly loved the way Boyne celebrates the kindness and tolerance of ordinary people juxtaposed with a country ill served by corrupt, self serving politicians. An exceptionally brilliant book that I loved and cannot recommend highly enough. Thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.
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  • Carol
    April 16, 2017
    WOW! UNPUTDOWNABLE! UNFORGETTABLE! BEST OF THE BEST IN MY BOOK!In THE HEART'S INVISIBLE FURIES, the story begins in Ireland and Catholic priests rule.As for this reader, John Boyne rules.....Get ready to laugh, be shocked, appalled and heartbroken (continuously) as you read Cyril Avery's life story. We have here excellence in story-telling, amazing characters with outlandish names AND personalities that fit them to a big fat T.Adopted as a baby to peculiar parents (to say the least) Cyril is oft WOW! UNPUTDOWNABLE! UNFORGETTABLE! BEST OF THE BEST IN MY BOOK!In THE HEART'S INVISIBLE FURIES, the story begins in Ireland and Catholic priests rule.As for this reader, John Boyne rules.....Get ready to laugh, be shocked, appalled and heartbroken (continuously) as you read Cyril Avery's life story. We have here excellence in story-telling, amazing characters with outlandish names AND personalities that fit them to a big fat T.Adopted as a baby to peculiar parents (to say the least) Cyril is often reminded he is not a real Avery; but even treated as an outsider in his own home, he just seems to go with the flow.....until his hormones reach explosion level, that is, and he seeks help to decipher why he seems to like boys.With strange parental guidance and no emotional support to speak of, a sexually frustrated young Cyril resorts to the confessional, and (OMG) that does not go too well either. The writing is so effective here, I could almost feel the.....um fallout.Anyway, as the story evolves, even in America, Cyril and "his lot" endure cruelty and hardships of the worst kind. As for the reader....the shocks just keep on coming.DO NOT miss this one! Highly Recommend!Many thanks to NetGalley, John Boyne and Crown Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. Loved it!
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  • Cheri
    May 22, 2017
    The Catholic Church has not been known for embracing homosexuality, or sexuality except as it relates to bearing children to those happily wed with the blessing of the Church. It is in 1945, this era in Ireland, where sixteen year-old Catherine is exiled from her church by their priest, the same priest, who it will later be discovered had fathered two children by two women. One in Drimoloeague, one in Clonakilty. The same Father James Monroe denounces Catherine as a whore and bans her from retur The Catholic Church has not been known for embracing homosexuality, or sexuality except as it relates to bearing children to those happily wed with the blessing of the Church. It is in 1945, this era in Ireland, where sixteen year-old Catherine is exiled from her church by their priest, the same priest, who it will later be discovered had fathered two children by two women. One in Drimoloeague, one in Clonakilty. The same Father James Monroe denounces Catherine as a whore and bans her from returning to this town with the congregation looking on as he drags her past the graveyard, giving her an hour to be gone. Forever. Buying a one-way ticket, she boards the bus to Dublin with plans for no further than getting through this day. A young man named Seán gets on the bus at a later stop and eventually starts up a conversation with Catherine, and when they arrive in Dublin, it is to Seán’s friend Jack’s place they go, where Catherine will end up staying. She will eventually find work in the Dáil Éireann tearoom. Told in seven-year increments, in 1952 we are introduced to young Cyril Avery, the adopted son of Roger and Maud Avery. Cyril is but a lad of seven years, and is taught to stress to others that he is the adopted son of Roger and Maud. This is the year that young Cyril will meet Julian, who will become his friend, his roommate, and the first boy that Cyril loves. Both Julian’s parents and Cyril’s adoptive parents are fairly well off. Cyril’s adopted mother is an author of some fame, not that she seeks fame, she can’t abide the thought of it. Through Cyril we follow the changes that have since taken place in regard to sexuality, in Ireland and to some extent in the world. Ireland transforms over the years, becomes less of a theocracy, more tolerant, more attuned to civil rights, in a sense, Ireland's own "coming-of-age" tale. We follow Cyril from Dublin to Amsterdam, to New York, and eventually back to Ireland again, covering more than the struggle for gay rights; this also touches on the topic of sexual slavery, and more. This story is the coming-of-age account of one boy-to-man, struggling with who he is and where or even if he belongs anywhere in this world, the shame he carries with him, the fear of being “found out,” the desire to find a place where he is accepted, most can relate to the feeling of wanting to feel safe and accepted. The people he meets through his life by chance, these wonderful characters help shape him, help him find a way to deal with his feelings of loss, and help lead him to an emotional place of peace. All these struggles, and yet Boyne manages to include moments of humour, moments of lightness, moments of fun. There are tragic, devastating moments, and anger, balanced by some lovely, inspiring moments. Those commonplace moments of life, as well. Most of all, there’s love, finding love, falling in love, and living in love. I was completely immersed in these words of Boyne. I laughed, I cried, and I was reminded that sometimes salvation may be found within, but even that requires a journey. Highly RecommendedPub Date: 22 Aug 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Crown Publishing / Hogarth
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  • Karen
    March 24, 2017
    What a story! This is about a Dubliner, Cyril Avery and takes place just prior to his birth, and in 7 year increments thereafter. We are taken from Ireland, to Amsterdam, then New York.. and back to Ireland.We see the hypocrisy and influence of the Catholic Church in post World War ll Ireland until its evolution of change many years later, and how Cyril managed to live his homosexual life during these times. There is a lot of humor amid the drama!These characters are wonderful and ended up meani What a story! This is about a Dubliner, Cyril Avery and takes place just prior to his birth, and in 7 year increments thereafter. We are taken from Ireland, to Amsterdam, then New York.. and back to Ireland.We see the hypocrisy and influence of the Catholic Church in post World War ll Ireland until its evolution of change many years later, and how Cyril managed to live his homosexual life during these times. There is a lot of humor amid the drama!These characters are wonderful and ended up meaning so much to me! I thoroughly enjoyed this book!Thank you to Crown Publishing Group, Netgalley, and John Boyne!!
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  • Maxwell
    June 10, 2017
    Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read an eARC of this book via NetGalley.This book has a lot of elements of stories I enjoy— it takes place in Ireland, follows a character throughout his entire life, and use 'fate' to bring people together across many years and many countries. Essentially, on paper it sounds like something I would love. And while there were definitely elements of the story that I enjoyed a lot, I felt a bit detached from the narrative and struggled to get invested in t Thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read an eARC of this book via NetGalley.This book has a lot of elements of stories I enjoy— it takes place in Ireland, follows a character throughout his entire life, and use 'fate' to bring people together across many years and many countries. Essentially, on paper it sounds like something I would love. And while there were definitely elements of the story that I enjoyed a lot, I felt a bit detached from the narrative and struggled to get invested in the story.The main reason I didn't love this story was its length. I'm okay with long books; I even love long books on occasion. But a story really needs to warrant its length, and I felt like this one was dragged down by how long it was. Its nearly 600 pages could easily have been scrapped down by 100-200 pages easily.I appreciated the central message of this book as the main character came to terms with his sexuality amidst a culture that didn't approve. Cyril was a resilient, flawed, complex main character that literally grew up before my eyes as I was reading, and I really enjoyed seeing how the author developed the characters every chapter through the use of 7 year gaps. However, the characters started to become vehicles for the message and mouthpieces for the author that took away from the naturalness of the story. The dialogue was witty and enjoyable, but occasionally it felt forced, as if the author were spoon-feeding the reader instead of letting them uncover the message. It lacked nuance for me, and that made it a bit unpalatable.All that being said, I really enjoyed the times while I was reading this book. It did take me a while, but when I would sit down to read it I would get lost in Cyril's story. However, it wasn't a book I was always eager to pick up. I think, again, that was due to its length. I would read a bunch and feel like I hadn't made any progress, and that doesn't really encourage you to keep reading.This book is dedicated to John Irving, and I can definitely see his influences in the story. Even though I've only read A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I also liked but didn't love, I can imagine Irving fans particularly enjoying this story for its themes, characters, and witticisms.
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  • Bianca
    May 9, 2017
    The Heart Invisible Furies was absolutely delightful, amusing and surprising.The writing was gorgeous and playful.The protagonist of this novel is Cyril Avery, who in 1945 was given up for adoption by his sixteen-year-old, unmarried Irish mother, and was adopted by a very well-to-do Dublin couple, who couldn't care less about him, and reminded him constantly that he wasn't their real son. Nevertheless, despite a complete lack of affection, Cyril is pragmatic enough and appreciated them for not b The Heart Invisible Furies was absolutely delightful, amusing and surprising.The writing was gorgeous and playful.The protagonist of this novel is Cyril Avery, who in 1945 was given up for adoption by his sixteen-year-old, unmarried Irish mother, and was adopted by a very well-to-do Dublin couple, who couldn't care less about him, and reminded him constantly that he wasn't their real son. Nevertheless, despite a complete lack of affection, Cyril is pragmatic enough and appreciated them for not being cruel or abusive. Cyril realises early in life that he's attracted to boys. In fact, he's got a huge crush on his best friend and boarding school roommate, Julian. They have adventures and become very close, still, Cyril never shares his secret with Julian. The secrecy and shame drive Cyril to commit some unpardonable acts, that cause a lot of grief.In his mid-thirties, after leaving Dublin for Amsterdam, Cyril finally finds love with a doctor, Baastian. Circumstances bring to their door a sixteen-year-old sex worker boy, whom they rescue, so they become his guardian of sorts. New York, 1987, full-fledged AIDS epidemic and paranoia - Cyril and Baastian live in New York, as Baastian works as a doctor in the AIDS department at Mount Sinai Hospital. After a few good years, things happen in New York that change Cyril's life once again.Years later, we find him back in Dublin, working as a librarian in the Parliament. He's now almost fifty. But he's making amends with some of the people whom he'd hurt in his youth.Sprawling over seventy years and almost six hundred pages, this novel was fantastic; it made me laugh, get angry, and cry. I also got a bit grossed out, because, eww, young men ...Issues of identity, parenting, Irish society are at the forefront of this novel. I'll admit that it pretty much preached to my biases, and I loved its antagonistic views on the Catholic Church which had such an influence on the very patriarchal Irish society. [How wonderful it is that gay people can marry in Ireland and other predominantly Catholic societies!Hopefully, Australia will catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to same-sex marriage because even the Irish managed to do it ... Anyway, I digress (can't help myself).]Read this! It's a big book, but it's truly excellent. I now want to read more books by John Boyne, as The Heart's Invisible Furies was delectable, clever, funny, sardonic, and I couldn't put it down (sorry, I have an illogical dislike for the word unputdownable).I've received this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this fantastic novel.Cover: 5 stars. (I also love the title.)
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  • Yodamom
    May 27, 2017
    I ended this story in tears, what a beautiful, horrible, epic family tale. It ranged from 1945 till present times, through many nightmarish times for me. The first years of Aids, the fears the lies, and the Twin Towers, such darkness. I felt so much, this was such an emotional story. It was so real, laced with histories I lived through, a time machine of sorts. I had to stop many times to think about the events and to compare them to my memories of the time.This was the longest I've ever taken t I ended this story in tears, what a beautiful, horrible, epic family tale. It ranged from 1945 till present times, through many nightmarish times for me. The first years of Aids, the fears the lies, and the Twin Towers, such darkness. I felt so much, this was such an emotional story. It was so real, laced with histories I lived through, a time machine of sorts. I had to stop many times to think about the events and to compare them to my memories of the time.This was the longest I've ever taken to read a book, it could not be read quickly it was too intense. Cyril born in 1945 to a single mother thrown out by her family and church in Ireland placed in a adopted family lived an epic life. Raised by off centered cold parents, he was always held apart and alone. Growing up he had love for his friend that wasn't allowed or returned. He was a young gay man when it was a near death sentence to be one in Ireland. Political, legal, religious, and social wars against gay people were extreme, he hid and became a bit self destructive. He was terrorized, as were most in that time. He left Ireland after a punch in the gut wedding and began an epic journey through 3 countries, one great love, a new family, and many horrible loses. The great circle of life brought him so close to his roots many times always just a touch. What a book. I don't think I am capable of describing it fully. It is beyond my ability to write the feelings.
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  • Trev Twinem
    January 13, 2017
    My first and only previous encounter with John Boyne was the excellent young adult story "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". So when the opportunity arose and I was gifted early review status on "The Heart's Invisible Furies" I was happy to accept, read and review....and I am so glad I did!This is a work of great literary intent with bawdy undertones, an easy assimilated tale about the life of Cyril Avery, born out of wedlock and immediately given up for adoption. The story spans a period from the My first and only previous encounter with John Boyne was the excellent young adult story "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". So when the opportunity arose and I was gifted early review status on "The Heart's Invisible Furies" I was happy to accept, read and review....and I am so glad I did!This is a work of great literary intent with bawdy undertones, an easy assimilated tale about the life of Cyril Avery, born out of wedlock and immediately given up for adoption. The story spans a period from the mid 1940's and moves at a ferocious pace up until the present and relayed to the reader in bite size 7 year chunks. Even though the novel stretches to some 600 pages once Boyne grabs your attention from the opening paragraph his colourful and descriptive prose holds you in awe until the final and very fitting conclusion.Adoptive wealthy parents Charles and Maud guide the young Cyril in his early infant years. A childhood friend Julian Woodbead allows Cyril to discover and question his own sexuality. This soon leads to a realization that will form part of his decision making throughout his life. From Dublin to the waterways of Amsterdam, the streets of New York and finally returning to Dublin we travel with Cyril experiencing the good times the bad, the sad, the funny and the indifferent. Boyne explores successfully and with great humour and gusto attitudes of bigotry and tolerance against the background of a god fearing catholic population, an aids frightened society, and a world in panic immediately following the events of 9/11. At times you will want to laugh out loud or perhaps shed a tear.I can honestly say that I have rarely been so moved by a story, the eloquent use of language, and the unveiling and interpretation of the issues raised and debated. Let's enjoy a few moments of the John Boyne magic...... "Cork City itself, a place she had never visited but that her father had always said was filled with gamblers, Protestants and drunkards"........"one man had been accused of exposing himself on the Milltown Road but the charges had been dismissed as the girl had been a Protestant"........"It was 1959, after all. I knew almost nothing of homosexuality, except for the fact that to act on such urges was a criminal act in Ireland that could result in a jail sentence, unless of course you were a priest, in which case it was a perk of the job.".........."Christ alive, said the sergeant, shaking his head in disbelief. I never heard of such a thing. What type of a woman would do something like that?.......The very best type , said Charles."This book to me celebrates the sheer joy of the printed word. Life, love and loss it is all here in a 600 page extraordinary extravaganza! If you love to read and you love books then "The Heart's Invisible Furies" is sheer magic...so buy, cherish and appreciate as you are unlikely to read anything better this year, or possibly any year. A great big thanks to the good people at netgalley for this early opportunity to read and review this masterpiece in return for an honest review and that is what I have written.
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  • Sharon
    March 21, 2017
    In 1945 in a small village in West Cork, sixteen year old Catherine Goggin is called up in front of the congregation at mass by the local priest. She is denounced as a whore, the entire village is informed of her pregnancy, and she is cast out, told never to return. She leaves for Dublin and has her baby adopted. Cyril is not a real Avery - his adoptive parents make sure he'll never forget that - but he has a good life with Charles and Maude, despite their quirks. He meets Julian Woodbead when h In 1945 in a small village in West Cork, sixteen year old Catherine Goggin is called up in front of the congregation at mass by the local priest. She is denounced as a whore, the entire village is informed of her pregnancy, and she is cast out, told never to return. She leaves for Dublin and has her baby adopted. Cyril is not a real Avery - his adoptive parents make sure he'll never forget that - but he has a good life with Charles and Maude, despite their quirks. He meets Julian Woodbead when he is seven, and forms a lifelong connection. Cyril struggles with his sexuality and his feelings - leading him to make a few big decisions that will have an impact on everyone around him.Set between 1945 and 2015, this is the epic tale of one man's life that spans several generations and tells Cyril's story - Cyril wasn't a real Avery, but he came damned close. Gorgeous, perfect, beautiful, heartbreaking, hopeful, poignant, sweet, engaging, funny - I miss the characters dearly. It's by far my favourite read so far this year and I'm gutted that it's finished. I laughed, I cried - it's stunning. MAJOR book hangover.
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  • Bridget
    February 28, 2017
    I don't know where to start. Ostensibly this is the story of one man's life, a very ordinary man in many ways but as we all are, also very extraordinary. Cyril Avery is the son of Catherine, a country girl, cast out of her family and the church, literally thrown out by the hair on her head, by a ghastly priest. She is young, pregnant and penniless. She makes her way to Dublin, has her baby who is adopted by the Averys and bought up in a most unusual fashion. The book follows his life, Cyril is a I don't know where to start. Ostensibly this is the story of one man's life, a very ordinary man in many ways but as we all are, also very extraordinary. Cyril Avery is the son of Catherine, a country girl, cast out of her family and the church, literally thrown out by the hair on her head, by a ghastly priest. She is young, pregnant and penniless. She makes her way to Dublin, has her baby who is adopted by the Averys and bought up in a most unusual fashion. The book follows his life, Cyril is a gay man and his experiences through his early life, school and his first work experiences are at times horrific and at times really funny. This book also, via Cyril's life, follows the history of the Catholic church in Ireland in the 20th century. Homosexuals were treated so incredibly appallingly, not just in Ireland I know, but in this case, we are talking about Ireland and any other country where the church runs the state and that is very clearly what was happening there.I found so much depth in this novel, layer upon layer of story. It loops around, people crop up in various places over time, Cyril's people appear and disappear and then reappear in his life, but that really is what happens to people generally, you have a friend, you see them a lot, then not so much and then you find each other again. The novel travels to Amsterdam, on to New York and then carries you back to Ireland. This is a big book, not just because the story is so big and twisty turny good, Cyril's is a big life but also a quiet life. I fell completely in love with this novel. It does move slowly and carefully but like all of John Boyne's novels the satisfaction of reading such gorgeous writing of finding so many treasures of little stories within the massive story - well it just makes me almost go weepy! And, if like I did, you attend a Catholic funeral while you are reading this book, you will just look at all the rituals and wonder and weep that these lovely ceremonies come with a history of bigotry and injustice, and that will be very challenging for some readers. I hope it sells millions of copies!
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  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    October 19, 2016
    Sigh. Oh John Boyne, I feel as though you kind of let me down here! This was a beautiful story, and from the start I was drawn right in. A wonderful story about Cyril Avery and his quest to find happiness and identity - said to be an ode to John Irving (and I'm assuming In One Person) However, Boyne completely cheapened this beautiful tale with the excessive, absurd, ridiculous and annoying over-the-top immature continuous sex-talk. Every single time a man entered the page he was making comments Sigh. Oh John Boyne, I feel as though you kind of let me down here! This was a beautiful story, and from the start I was drawn right in. A wonderful story about Cyril Avery and his quest to find happiness and identity - said to be an ode to John Irving (and I'm assuming In One Person) However, Boyne completely cheapened this beautiful tale with the excessive, absurd, ridiculous and annoying over-the-top immature continuous sex-talk. Every single time a man entered the page he was making comments about tits, mickeys, garden hoses, sticking it to women every chance they got. The caricatures of men as over-sexed boys was overdone, excessive and ridiculous. It was as though every man in Ireland saw girls/women as only tits and ass. I had enough of it as it was on page after page after page - I honestly skipped a 1/4 of the book and finally found that it began to settle down into the wonderful story it started as. The remaining 1/4 of the book featured more of what I anticipated from John Boyne's storytelling powers. I'm over-analyzing and railing against Boyne in trying to understand why he cheapened his novel in the way he did.
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  • Mandy Radley
    March 11, 2017
    I've read most of John Boyne's books, including YA, some I've enjoyed more than others but The Heart's Invisible Furies is by far the best and I didn't want it to end which is always a good sign.
  • Myra
    April 22, 2017
    3.5 StarsOverall, a good story-line that at times was a bit unbelievable – too many coincidences and some subject matter that was overemphasized. In addition, I grew more interested in the peripheral characters than the protagonist. Still, I’m glad I read it as this was my first John Boyne book.
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  • Jill
    June 14, 2017
    John Boyne dedicates this sprawling novel to John Irving and that, in my opinion, is no accident. John Irving’s works are characterized by two key themes: the absent parent who looms large in his/her offspring’s life, and the role of predetermination merged with coincidence. Both these themes are in ample display here.The book opens with a bang: a teenage girl is humiliated, emotionally abused, and cast out of the church when her pregnancy is revealed. That girl is Cyril Avery’s unknown birth mo John Boyne dedicates this sprawling novel to John Irving and that, in my opinion, is no accident. John Irving’s works are characterized by two key themes: the absent parent who looms large in his/her offspring’s life, and the role of predetermination merged with coincidence. Both these themes are in ample display here.The book opens with a bang: a teenage girl is humiliated, emotionally abused, and cast out of the church when her pregnancy is revealed. That girl is Cyril Avery’s unknown birth mother, who appears intermittently in his life. Adopted by a wealthy and eccentric Dublin couple who insist that his stay in a “tenancy” and that he is “not really an Avery”, Cyril is adrift both at home and in the broader Irish theocracy.Attracted to a charismatic and girl-chasing friend Julian Woodbead, Cyril – who is gay – learns early on to lead a shadow life, suppressing desires and trying to figure out where he belongs.Yet this novel – bawdy and comedic in parts, poignant and searing in others – is not just a depiction of Cyril’s struggles, but also the struggles of Ireland. As Cyril evolves from self-loathing, denial and crippling shame, so does his country, which rejects the scandalous, hypocritical and abusive church structure in favor of a more accepting and equalitarian stance.The book isn’t perfect: one of Cyril’s two great love interests is too idealized, the requisite AIDs section doesn’t quite have the force of, say, Tim Murphy’s excellent novel Christadora, and the first two-thirds of the book have a more vibrant energy, likely fueled by the author’s own anger at the shameful treatment of those who are gay. Yet at no point does the quality of the book really flag. I was totally engrossed in this redemptive book and in awe of how John Boyne merged a sense of comedic bravado with heartfelt fury at how the church attempted to destroy the lives of those who stepped outside the lines of its orthodoxy.Two things in closing: this is not a “gay book”. It is a human book and a redemptive one at that, which is must reading for anyone who is traveling the journey to self-acceptance. And, while coincidence plays a heavy role, those who appreciate Irving will recognize how predetermination can impact our individual stories. I closed the book sorry to be parting company with Cyril Avery, whom I had grown to like and respect enormously. 4.5 stars, rounded up.
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  • Jill
    April 12, 2017
    Overall, I found Cyril Avery to be a great character written into a good story.Some very serious subjects are addressed in the book, and the author uses humor to lighten the weight of these issues. This was both a positive and a negative for me. While parts of the book are very funny, there are certain subjects I have trouble laughing at even when humor is used as a coping mechanism. And, if the same line is repeated over & over, it loses its power. The beginning is very strong and hard to p Overall, I found Cyril Avery to be a great character written into a good story.Some very serious subjects are addressed in the book, and the author uses humor to lighten the weight of these issues. This was both a positive and a negative for me. While parts of the book are very funny, there are certain subjects I have trouble laughing at even when humor is used as a coping mechanism. And, if the same line is repeated over & over, it loses its power. The beginning is very strong and hard to put down, but the story unraveled a bit for me as it went on. There were too many coincidences and some foreshadowing which had me guessing several of the major plot lines before they occurred. Without any spoilers, I would just say that I love a good redemption story, but it still needs to be convincing in order to appreciate that redemption. I had trouble with some of the resolution in this book, even though it felt good. 3.5 stars rounded down to 3. Everyone else loves it though, so...............
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  • Allan
    February 19, 2017
    Believe the hype...
  • Eric Anderson
    February 8, 2017
    Having read Boyne's heartrending novel “A History of Loneliness” a little over two years ago, I was extremely keen to read this new novel which is certainly his most ambitious publication thus far. At over six hundred pages “The Heart's Invisible Furies” follows the life of Cyril Avery from his dramatic birth in 1945 to 2015. It's a novel that's truly epic in scope as it incorporates significant moments in history from the 1966 IRA bombing of Nelson's Column in Dublin to the recent referendum to Having read Boyne's heartrending novel “A History of Loneliness” a little over two years ago, I was extremely keen to read this new novel which is certainly his most ambitious publication thus far. At over six hundred pages “The Heart's Invisible Furies” follows the life of Cyril Avery from his dramatic birth in 1945 to 2015. It's a novel that's truly epic in scope as it incorporates significant moments in history from the 1966 IRA bombing of Nelson's Column in Dublin to the recent referendum to permit same-sex marriage in Ireland. Boyne captures climatic shifts in societal attitudes over this seventy year period. For those who experience Irish life from day to day and suffer terribly from the constrictive ideologies of its domineering institutions, it feels as if nothing will ever change. As one character puts it: “Ireland is a backward hole of a country run by vicious, evil-minded, sadistic priests and government so in thrall to the collar that it’s practically led around on a leash.” However, surveying the societal shifts over a full lifetime through Cyril's point of view, the reader is able to see how things do slowly change with time especially through brave individuals who make themselves heard.Read my full review of The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne on LonesomeReader
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  • Stephanie
    April 16, 2017
    5++++++ stars. It's 3.30 in the morning and I have stayed up to finish this book. It's a wonderful must read of a book. Amazing story and characters. I am going to have a huge book hang over tomorrow. Don't know how I am going to move on from Cryril Avery....❤❤❤
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  • Caroline
    June 14, 2017
    Review to come.
  • Lainy
    January 17, 2017
    Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)Pages - 592Publisher - DoubledayBlurb from GoodreadsCyril 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 hear Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)Pages - 592Publisher - DoubledayBlurb from GoodreadsCyril 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. My ReviewHello 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!
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  • Benjamin
    December 21, 2016
    Cyril Avery is a victim of circumstances and his own inclinations,having the misfortune to be born to an unwed sixteen year old mother in an intolerant, unforgiving priest ruled Ireland of 1945. Given up for adoption and raised by remote, unconventional parents, he lacked little other than love and lived his early years infatuated with the similarly aged, handsome and charismatic Julian, his best friend, the sort that would come out smelling of roses even after falling in a heap of cow dung. For Cyril Avery is a victim of circumstances and his own inclinations,having the misfortune to be born to an unwed sixteen year old mother in an intolerant, unforgiving priest ruled Ireland of 1945. Given up for adoption and raised by remote, unconventional parents, he lacked little other than love and lived his early years infatuated with the similarly aged, handsome and charismatic Julian, his best friend, the sort that would come out smelling of roses even after falling in a heap of cow dung. Forced by the attitudes of the time to deny or hide his true inclinations Cyril gets himself into a number of awkward, even dangerous situations. And so we follow Cyril as he relates his exploit in stages of seven years from his birth up to 2015.Cyril has no delusions about himself, and is honest about his failings and shortcomings, perhaps depicting himself as worse than he really is as we infer from the way others interact with him. That he discovers his birth mother we know from the opening pages, how and when we have to wait to discover, in the meantime we can enjoy following Cyril through his eventful life, the high points and the tragedies. Despite its apparent length the story moves quickly. This is partly due to the seven year jumps in his account (yet it is in no way disjointed), but primarily down to the quality of the writing. It is often very humorous, they are laugh out loud moments as well as much subtle humour, some of the dialogues are a delight. But there are also deeply moving passages that will bring you close to tears.To say I enjoyed this novel is an understatement, It must rank high among the very best I have read, I unreservedly loved it. Thank you John Boyne.
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  • Mandy
    February 19, 2017
    This one just didn’t work for me. Boyne has dedicated the book to John Irving, a pretty dangerous thing to do if he’s trying to emulate Irving’s sweeping stories of lives lived on the outside, as Irving is a hard act to follow and Boyne doesn’t measure up to him. This picaresque – and I have to admit that I rarely get on with the picaresque – tale narrates the life of Cyril Avery, born to an unmarried teenage girl and subsequently adopted by a wealthy but distant couple in Dublin in the 1940s. C This one just didn’t work for me. Boyne has dedicated the book to John Irving, a pretty dangerous thing to do if he’s trying to emulate Irving’s sweeping stories of lives lived on the outside, as Irving is a hard act to follow and Boyne doesn’t measure up to him. This picaresque – and I have to admit that I rarely get on with the picaresque – tale narrates the life of Cyril Avery, born to an unmarried teenage girl and subsequently adopted by a wealthy but distant couple in Dublin in the 1940s. Conflicted by his homosexuality, we follow Avery throughout his life and travels over the next 70 years. A blend of fact and fiction with real life characters next to fictional ones, Boyne gives us a panoramic portrait of a changing Ireland, whilst exploring the eternal Irish themes of bigotry both within and outside the Church, intolerance and prejudice. With far too many coincidences and some pretty unlikely characters along the way, I found my attention wandering and remained unengaged throughout. Disappointing.
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  • Penelope
    February 17, 2017
    Heart-breaking and hilarious in equal measure, Cyril Avery (although not a real Avery!) is a narrator whose voice and story will stay with you for a long time. From the opening pages we are ushered into a world which isn't the one we would wish upon the characters but through which we must watch them navigate a troubled, rocky, complicated but ultimately beautiful journey. Whilst a larger than average book this none the less reads very quickly and you will find yourself reading 'just one more pa Heart-breaking and hilarious in equal measure, Cyril Avery (although not a real Avery!) is a narrator whose voice and story will stay with you for a long time. From the opening pages we are ushered into a world which isn't the one we would wish upon the characters but through which we must watch them navigate a troubled, rocky, complicated but ultimately beautiful journey. Whilst a larger than average book this none the less reads very quickly and you will find yourself reading 'just one more page' of the beautifully written and compelling narrative until you sadly reach the end feeling slightly bereft. I will definitely be investigating more of this author's books.
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  • Ruth
    November 22, 2016
    I'm crying as I write this - this is such a beautiful book. I can't express how much I love this book xxx
  • Braiden
    January 28, 2017
    I read the final line and simultaneously cried and smiled. It's heart-achingly tragic but it's also beautiful, full of heart and humour, moments of sadness and moments of greatness, that together weave in and out to tell the incredible tale of Cyril Avery, a man faced with prejudice and bad luck yet who always manages to find ways to redeem himself, whether by chance encounter or purposefully sought... a man who remained constantly humble and genuine on his quest for happiness regardless of what I read the final line and simultaneously cried and smiled. It's heart-achingly tragic but it's also beautiful, full of heart and humour, moments of sadness and moments of greatness, that together weave in and out to tell the incredible tale of Cyril Avery, a man faced with prejudice and bad luck yet who always manages to find ways to redeem himself, whether by chance encounter or purposefully sought... a man who remained constantly humble and genuine on his quest for happiness regardless of what challenges he faces as a gay man from a homophobic (and sexist) Ireland to the expressive society of Amsterdam to AIDS-affected New York City.
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  • Pat
    June 4, 2017
    John Boyne's books are a gift to everyone who values excellent literary fiction. Particularly noteworthy is his very compelling A History of Loneliness. Each of his novels is different in plot and character development, but they are all beautifully written. This one is dedicated to John Irving, a tribute to another gifted author whose Owen Meany character lives forever in the hearts of his readers.The Heart's Invisible Furies is narrated by Cyril Avery from in utero and then throughout his event John Boyne's books are a gift to everyone who values excellent literary fiction. Particularly noteworthy is his very compelling A History of Loneliness. Each of his novels is different in plot and character development, but they are all beautifully written. This one is dedicated to John Irving, a tribute to another gifted author whose Owen Meany character lives forever in the hearts of his readers.The Heart's Invisible Furies is narrated by Cyril Avery from in utero and then throughout his eventful life. Born to an unwed adolescent in Dublin in 1945, he is adopted by an eccentric, wealthy couple. As an only child, his family life is dysfunctional in the extreme with constant reminders by his adoptive parents that he is not their birth child. Living in homophobic Ireland during a time when cruel epithets and possible incarceration were the fate of gay people, Cyril is lonely and challenged to present a fraudulent façade. His best friend, Julian, since childhood is the singular object of his desire, although Julian is doggedly heterosexual. Unfortunately, Julian's sister is caught in Cyril's web of deceit with unforeseen results. The book, divided in seven-year increments from 1945 to 2015, provides an unflinching look at the traumatic events of that time frame as Cyril travels from Ireland to Amsterdam to America and then back to Ireland for unexpected reunions. This is an epic saga of a man determined to find peace in a place where he belongs.Thank you to LibraryThing and Doubleday for providing me with an ARC of this excellent book.
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  • Lisa Aiello
    June 2, 2017
    I was lucky enough to get this as an ARC through NetGalley, otherwise I may have passed up this beautiful gem! This book takes us through 70 years of the life of Cecil Avery, who had a rough start in life. He was conceived out of wedlock, his mother shunned by the Irish Catholic Church. She found herself alone, penniless and scared. But she had a plan and gave her baby boy up to an adoptive family. But Cecil was never truly an Avery of which his strange family constantly reminded him. They treat I was lucky enough to get this as an ARC through NetGalley, otherwise I may have passed up this beautiful gem! This book takes us through 70 years of the life of Cecil Avery, who had a rough start in life. He was conceived out of wedlock, his mother shunned by the Irish Catholic Church. She found herself alone, penniless and scared. But she had a plan and gave her baby boy up to an adoptive family. But Cecil was never truly an Avery of which his strange family constantly reminded him. They treated him well enough, but he was just sort of there. As Cecil is growing up, he realizes he prefers men and this book takes us on an epic ride through his life. The stigma, the lies, the intolerance, the cruelty. I won't say more as you need to discover his story and his journey for yourself. It was beautiful and painful. I had big fat tears rolling down my face more times than I care to admit. How lives and circumstances intertwined was breathtaking. And the Epilogue was everything. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the life of Cecil Avery.
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  • Inishowen Cailín
    March 28, 2017
    A hugely entertaining read. As a novel set over much of twentieth century Ireland I was expecting a lot of doom and gloom with the usual mix of depressing things associated with the era: emigration, alcoholism, poverty, unwed mothers, an overly religious society dominated by the strictures of the church and under the watchful eye and the judgemental, heavy hand of the priests who show no mercy to women. Normally I would pass on anything that would remotely resemble anything with these typical tr A hugely entertaining read. As a novel set over much of twentieth century Ireland I was expecting a lot of doom and gloom with the usual mix of depressing things associated with the era: emigration, alcoholism, poverty, unwed mothers, an overly religious society dominated by the strictures of the church and under the watchful eye and the judgemental, heavy hand of the priests who show no mercy to women. Normally I would pass on anything that would remotely resemble anything with these typical tropes but I was taken by surprise with John Boyne's 'The Heart's Invisible Furies.'I was surprised at the quick pace, the humour and the over all light tone of the novel despite some serious issues being described. The humour really lifted the whole feel of the book for me and made the experience of the novel that more enjoyable.The story unfolds over the course of the twentieth century. It begins with Cyril's mother becoming pregnant at a young age in the post WWII era and it then follows Cyril's life from childhood into adulthood and old age. He struggles with his sexuality from a young age and has to survive in a time and place where it was illegal to engage in homosexual activities. Despite the seriousness of the issues worked into the novel I never felt the sense of hopelessness that I was expecting and I was glad of this as I wanted things to work out for Cyril. There was so much humour worked into the book that I felt a compulsion to read on and find out what happens next in Cyril's life. There were plenty of ups and downs, heartache and tragedy, fun and laughter. The Heart's Invisible Furies is now firmly placed on my top ten reads of 2017. Whether or not you are considering reading a book by an Irish writer this year this one should be on your reading list.
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  • Stephen
    March 18, 2017
    this book charts the life of cyril avery and at the same time the social history of Ireland over 60 years, in parts its funny and others part sad but feel boyne brings alive the fabric of irish society as its changes from being priest led. Cyril finds himself trying to work out himself for most of his life as being a homosexual and not quite fitting in
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