Book Review – The Heart’s Invisible Furies

The Heart’s Invisible Furies follows Cyril Avery through life as he seeks to establish who he is, what his place is in the world and what love means to him. Given away at birth, Cyril’s never had a normal family. He’s never known a normal love. He’s never felt at home. As he battles the life he was given and the culture he was born into, he learns to find peace after decades of searching for what that means.

When book club did a book exchange for Christmas, I ended up with this gem… this heavy, heavy gem. Coming in at 582 pages, I found it intimidating until I saw the reviews. Then I knew I had to read it. And what do you know? I brought it back to book club in February and we chose it as our March book!

Book 11:
The Heart’s Invisible Furies
by John Boyne

Genre:
Historical Fiction

Published:
August 2017

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Heart’s Invisible Furies follows Cyril Avery through life as he seeks to establish who he is, what his place is in the world and what love means to him. Given away at birth, Cyril’s never had a normal family. He’s never known a normal love. He’s never felt at home. As he battles the life he was given and the culture he was born into, he learns to find peace after decades of searching for what that means.

Favorite Quote(s):

“Maybe there were no villains in my mother’s story at all. Just men and women, trying to do their best by each other. And failing.”

– John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Awards (based upon my brief research):
Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Fiction (2018)
Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Fiction (2018)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2017)
Book of the Month Book of the Year Award (2017)

Pages:
582

My Overall Rating:
5 – The whole way through, I was riding at a 4, but by the end I was so invested that I just bumped that right up to a 5. Here’s the thing: This is not a book I would have chosen had I not known how much other people have loved it. It started slow. It was not what I expected. But, eventually, I was emotionally in ears deep.

I cannot believe the oppression homosexual people have faced in the past and continue to face even today. In the course of 582 pages, I felt sad for Cyril, mad, happy and hopeful. It pains me to know that people have lived lives even remotely similar to his. Why do we oppress other people? Who are we to judge?

Now I’ll cool off and say that I also love, LOVE John Boyne’s writing style. I loved it in A Ladder to the Sky, and I loved it in this one as well. He’s incredibly talented and takes such a unique approach to story-telling. I am mesmerized by how he’s able to do what he does so well.

Book Review – A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky is about Maurice Swift, a young, attractive, want-to-be writer and how he climbs his way to the top, using people and their stories to reach his fame. A talent in writing, he lacks, but the talents of deceit and manipulation get him far into the writing career he so desired. Once chance encounter leads to a debut novel that sets his career into motion and changes his life forever. 

Book 40 was my November Book of the Month choice, and one I picked solely on the author. Though I’ve read nothing else of his, John Boyne has done well for himself, so I assumed this would be worth the read.

Book 40:
A Ladder to the Sky
by John Boyne

Genre:
Psychological Fiction, LGBT literature

Published:
August 2018

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, A Ladder to the Sky is about Maurice Swift, a young, attractive, want-to-be writer and how he climbs his way to the top, using people and their stories to reach his fame. A talent in writing, he lacks, but the talents of deceit and manipulation get him far into the writing career he so desired. Once chance encounter leads to a debut novel that sets his career into motion and changes his life forever.

Favorite Quote(s):

“I think Maurice is whatever he needs to be, whenever he needs to be it. ” 

-John Boyne, A Ladder to the Sky

Awards (based upon my brief research):
Shortlisted: Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year
Shortlisted: Irish Book Awards RTE Listeners’ Choice Book of the Year

Pages:
362

My Overall Rating:
3.5 – I can’t say I regret reading this book or that I was wrong about it being worth the read simply because it was written by a notable author, but this had and didn’t have things I didn’t/did need in order to consider it a great success. I really appreciated the writing style, the flow of the book and the overall plot, but there was definitely content I could have done without and various aspects of the conclusion seemed weak or rushed by the author. This would have been a 4 or 4.5 if I could have removed certain scenes and elaborated more on the conclusion. The plot and writing style were there. It was unique. It was fun. There were just a lot of questionable choices by the author spread throughout.