The Heart’s Invisible Furies

John Boyne. Hogarth, $28 (592p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6078-6
Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) begins his enchanting, sprawling latest novel in 1945 as 16-year-old Catherine Goggin is cast from her home in Goleen, Ireland. Unmarried, pregnant, and shamed by a priest in front of the entire congregation, she makes her way to Dublin, where, after finding a job at the Parliament of the Irish Republic, she rents a dingy apartment. At her tenement, Catherine witnesses an act of violence against her flatmates, the stress of which forces her into labor in the hall of her building. Thus begins the life of Cyril Avery, the boy whose life fills the remaining pages. Splitting the novel into decade-long sections, Boyne explores Cyril’s life in luscious detail. Cyril is raised by quirky and inattentive adoptive parents—a banker and a successful writer—in Dublin. After school he visits Amsterdam, then later navigates 1980s New York at the height of the AIDS epidemic. With evocative descriptions of each city and fateful plot turns that twist the narrative in surprising ways, Boyne adroitly captures Cyril’s shifting identity as he grapples with nationality, class, and sexuality. The book becomes both an examination of Cyril’s life and a catalogue of Western society’s evolution from post-war to present day, with all its failings, triumphs, complexities, and certainties. The story falters slightly near the end, but the life of Cyril Avery is one to be relished. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 08/22/2017
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 592 pages - 978-0-385-69060-7
Hardcover - 978-1-4328-4333-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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