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.

Winner of the 2018 Glass Bell Award for standout storytelling.

Finalist for the 2018 LAMBDA Literary Awards
Finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction


If I had to choose a favourite book of 2019 so far that I’ve read this year, it would be this one.

The book begins in the 1940’s with a young pregnant girl living in a rural community in Ireland being labelled a ‘whore’ by the local parish priest and forcibly removed from the church by the priest. Rejected by her family, she uses her meagre savings and catches a bus to Dublin…

The book virtually encompasses the history of Ireland from that point onwards up to the 21st Century. Particularly the history of gay men and all the trials and tribulations they encounter in a predominantly Catholic country at that time in that country and beyond.

The narrative is just so witty and enjoyable to read that I will probably read it all over again.

John Boyne has an absolute way with words that’s indescribable to explain without just shoving the book in someone’s hand and just saying ‘you have to read this it’s amazing’.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. He is the author of ten novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John’s other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness, have been widely praised and are international bestsellers. In 2015, John chaired the panel for the Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is his most ambitious novel yet.

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