Posted August 25, 2017 by Renee / 48 Comments


Published Aug 22, 2017 by Hogarth Press

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 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.


ALL. THE. LOVE. I finished this book almost a week ago and I’m still at a loss for words on how best to review it. The blurb is actually one of the best I’ve read because it captures the idea of the story without giving away any of the magic of what you’ll truly encounter when you open the pages and become an accomplice in the journey of Cyril Avery’s life. I say accomplice when what I really mean is friend. Every once in awhile a book comes along and allows me to connect with a character on such a deep level, being privy to their thoughts, heartbreak and happiness, that when I turn the last page it’s like saying goodbye to a dear friend. THIS is that kind of book and Cyril is that kind of character.

When I started reading this gem all I knew was that it was a heartfelt saga…that’s it…and I’m so glad I went in not knowing anything and having read no reviews because everything was a surprise and believe me, there are twists and surprises throughout the seven decades that this book takes place. What I will tell you is that we first get to meet Cyril when he’s about age 7 and he’s living with his adoptive parents Maude and Charles. Now, believe me when I say these are some of the most eccentric characters I’ve come across in quite a long time! As a parent myself, I was shocked at some of the things they said to little Cyril…how many times can a kid hear “you’re not a real Avery” before it seeps into their whole being? Cyril, however, took everything in stride and while he grew up wondering who he was if he wasn’t a real Avery, he also knew that he was luckier than some as he had a warm house, clothes and an education. Here’s the weird thing about the family dynamics of Maude, Charles, and Cyril…oftentimes it was quite funny and I laughed out loud on several occasions at the wittiness of Cyril and the cluelessness of Maude.

The story is narrated by Cyril throughout and it’s broken up into seven year intervals spanning 70 years so we have a long time to get to know Cyril as well as his friends, loves, coworkers and acquaintances, and what I especially loved about this was that people we may have known in passing, often return again to Cyril’s life, whether attributed to fate or coincidence…who knows. Cyril’s journey also takes us not only to Ireland, but also Amsterdam and New York City which I for one love when I get to travel to various locations in my stories!

I’m going to finish by saying, how John Boyne handled the ending was just brilliant. I  loved everything about it as I cried my eyes out. In fact, I loved every single thing about this story and I can’t remember the last time I finished a book and felt the need to start over again right away. This book has EVERYTHING…drama, happiness, sadness, hope, and humor. It is epic and unforgettable. I’ve already ordered a hardcover copy for my favorites bookshelf where it will sit (until its first re-read) so I can pass by it daily and smile. Oh and if you’re a regular reader of my blog you may remember me saying that I thought The Force would be my favorite read of 2017 unless something else came along to blow me away…well, The Heart’s Invisible Furies has come along…consider me blown away!

Many thanks to Hogarth Press for my copy


48 responses to “REVIEW: THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES By John Boyne

  1. Wow Renee, your review makes me want to drop all current reading plans and just get this book. I like how you described being part of the character’s journey, knowing their thoughts, happiness and heartbreaks. Only a special book can make a reader feel that way and this one really does sound like an amazing read. Definitely adding it to my TBR. Beautiful review.

    • Thank you Diana! I had the hardest time with this review because I loved the book so much and didn’t want to be completely gushy and I also didn’t want to give anything away. I just got so caught up in Cyril’s life. I really hope you get a chance to read this, I think it’s going to be a big hit!

  2. You’ve made me want to add it straight into my basket! I love books where you deeply connect to the characters so it sounds like this is one for me ☺

  3. Okay I need to read this book RIGHT NOW. I love the way you talk about it, looks like I need this book in my life! I love John Boyne’s writing too, I’ve read a couple of things by him but how has this one passed me by?!

  4. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I didn’t read your review in detail b/c I have this one on hold at the library and can’t wait to read it! Want to go in as blind as possible!

    • I understand completely, that’s how I went in so I wrote my review without details and more on how I felt about the book…it’s hard to write a review with no plot details haha. Let me know when you’ve read it so we can discuss!

  5. Susie | Novel Visits

    Wow! you have thoroughly convinced me. I’m adding The Heart’s Invisible Furies to my TBR pile right now. I already wish I was reading it! Now I just have to find time to squeeze it in. Thanks for sharing this one, Renee.

  6. Yvo

    Wonderful review! This one definitely goes straight to my wishlist; there is just no other option left after so much love for it in your review.

  7. Lovely review, Renee! I have had this one on my TBR for a while 🙂 John Boyne is such a fantastic author. He is just such a wonderful author. So glad you enjoyed this one!!

    • Thanks Stephanie! I’ve added some more of his books to my tbr but I’m wondering if this will be his shining book, I’m just seeing raving reviews everywhere. Hope you get to read it!

      • You’re welcome! I’ve preordered it, so I definitely plan on it even if I have to wait for Christmas break 😊 I’ve been reading the reviews too and it does seem it will be! Just fabulous reviews!!

    • Thank you Resh! This book is getting so much love out there from everyone who’s read it I think, I’ve yet to see a negative review. It’s just fantastic and I hope you do get to read it. Thanks for commenting, I popped over to your blog and will be following your reviews…love your layout!

  8. […] The Heart’s Invisible Furies  is perfection for me! I loved the fact that this is a pull at your heartstrings saga, yet it’s also funny, witty, dramatic, and sad…in a nutshell, it’s everything and I don’t usually reread books but I can’t wait to open this one up again and revisit with Cyril! […]

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