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Publisher's Summary

From the beloved New York Times best-selling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man's life, beginning and ending in postwar Ireland.

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.

©2017 John Boyne (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Boyne, who has a wonderful gift for characterization, does a splendid job of weaving these various lives together in ways that are richly dramatic, sometimes surprising, and always compelling...Often quite funny, the story nevertheless has its sadness, sometimes approaching tragedy. Utterly captivating and not to be missed." (Booklist)

"With quick strokes and bitter humor, Boyne's opening scene encapsulates the Irish church's hypocrisy...Boyne continues his crusading ways with the quiet keening of this painful, affecting novel." (Kirkus)

"Narrator Stephen Hogan's performance of the twists and turns of Cyril's struggle is dramatic, life affirming, and inspiring.... It's a coming-of-age tale delivered by Hogan in a sensitive narration. Listeners looking for both hearty laughs and gentle tears will enjoy Cyril's journey." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith G
  • Montrose in Houston TX
  • 09-04-17

Outstanding. A Must listen.

The best stories that one might encounter present a combination of imagination, craft, and artistry. I returned a mega-hit best seller which had little of those three and I bought this book. I was instantly rewarded.

I see other reviewers provide a recap, so I will not.

My words will fail to explain how fine-tuned John Boyne's writing is here. He directly gets to feelings that other authors over-write to achieve, if they get there at all. Even though this is obviously a work of fiction, there is an epic level of truth woven into the soul of this story. So much so that it is easy to engage with the humanity of Cyril Avery by feeling both grand affection and pointed irritation as he stumbles forward trying to find the truths important to his life.

I could type thousands of words on the fantastic and carefully wrought cast of characters. We get to experience a collection of fully realized humans whom we are sure must truly exist in some alternative universe.

I am a gay male born 13 years after the date of Avery's birth. Even with that difference, I found great familiarity with many of the external and internal struggles that confronted Avery. Luckily for me, I processed similar issues 4,500 miles southwest of Ireland. Theocracy is not a pretty thing.

I return once again to the idea that Boyne's superb artistry and attention to his craft will make you very happy to journey with this story.

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

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Gorgeous story, masterfully written

This story is like so many strands of yarn coming together in masterful hands to create a soft and comforting blanket. Difficult to endure at moments, highly amusing at others, and often so very moving, John Boyne creates a symphony of characters against a fascinating historical background. One of the best books I've listened to this year.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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By far the best book I have listened to...

This was the best book by far that I have listened to since being recently introduced to Audible. I would highly recommend...the story is awesome, the narrator did an excellent job, and it was something I looked forward to listening to. Thank you to all that provided the great reviews if not for those recommendations, I would have missed out on this excellent read!

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Keira
  • United States
  • 09-23-17

Great book

My first time listening to a John Boyne book and I loved it. Reminded me a lot of John Irving who is one of my favorite authors.

The storytelling entertaining and I was compelled to keep listening with the end of each new chapter. I loved the way he wove the characters throughout the book so you could get to know them.

My favorite art of the book was probably the word play between the characters. I found myself laughing and tearing up more than once.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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A WORK OF LITERARY GENIUS

There are so many things about this novel that made me love it. First, it is indeed a saga; the audiobook runs for slightly over twenty-one hours without a dull moment. Next, the author’s strong, fully-developed characters, and direct, honest narrative make this a powerful, unforgettable story about post WWII Ireland. Another interesting aspect is the story unfolds in seven-year increments; e.g., 1945 to 1952 to 1959, etc. (I’ve my thoughts on why the author did this, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.)

I purchase three to five MM audiobooks monthly, and I’ve grown tired of the same ol’ same ol’ poorly edited, unimaginative, predictable gay romance tales that are dumped into the MM market by the truckload. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is tagged as contemporary fiction. I expected a mainstream novel. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that several characters as well as the MC, Cyril, are gay. It’s about time that MM fiction doesn’t include a “Gay or LGBTQ” warning label. The love scenes are behind closed doors; i.e., this is not MM erotica.

The summary tells you all you need to know about the plot, and I’ll not provide spoilers by giving you my synopsis of this beautifully written work of literary genius. The narration is fabulous from beginning to end. The characters, plot and subplots will capture your attention and keep you listening. A Heart’s Invisible Furies will make you smile, laugh, and weep; the dogma priests inflicted upon the Irish will disgust you.

The novel has a bittersweet but heartwarming conclusion. I know, I know … such sounds unlikely, but the author pulls it off magnificently.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies will go down as one of my all-time favorite novels, and has earned a permanent spot in my iPod so I can listen to it again, and again, and again. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting an MM saga that breaks away from the angst-ridden romantic canons of MM fiction; hey, gay couples are more than just the bedroom. Bravo John Boyne!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Excellent novel!

This is the first review I have ever written. I listen to many, many recorded books. It can be difficult to find one that is more than just entertaining. This novel is very entertaining for sure, but so much more. The story has extraordinary depth and complexity. The author has created compelling, well developed characters whose actions have meaning and purpose. You cannot help being interested in them even if they are not particularly likable. Boyne also creates humor, sadness, joy and loss with an equally deft hand. I am sorry to have finished this one.

Happy reading!

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful writing with unexpected humor and superb performance.

Well developed characters living through difficult times in recent history. I couldn't wait to find out how they all moved on through their lives but didn't want it to end.

Narration has become more and more important to me as I make my way through life with Audible. I can't listen to books, no matter how well written or highly recommended they are, if the reader doesn't "get" the characters and the rhythm right. Stephen Hogan is masterful. A great performance altogether.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Amazing. A Masterpiece.

If you could sum up The Heart's Invisible Furies in three words, what would they be?

Masterful storytelling, this book has it all: Love, Hate, Tragedy, Hope, Despair. Beautifully told. Everyone should read this. It reminded me of the Irish saying, "He has the gift of gab." I didn't want to put this down or stop listening to the incredible narration!

Have you listened to any of Stephen Hogan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not but will immediately look up everything he has ever narrated and purchase them. Incredible narration!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

Do yourself a favor and start reading or listening to this today!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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TEN STARS!

I honestly do not have the words to describe how magnificent this story is, or how exceptional the narration is! Legitimately speechless.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Amazing! Loved it!

I wasn't familiar with the premise of the book and after listening for 5-6 hours worried the sexually stuff would dominate the storyline. That isn't the case. There are some tough scenes that had me grimacing then crying. More often though I was laughing aloud at the dry, quick-witted humor.

The novel is a coming of age story initially set in a country with unparalleled religious hypocrisy. The main character leaves his homeland hoping to escape this but throughout his journeys and life experiences finds the anti-gay prejudice is everywhere. I won't spoil his many adventures...or the ending...but do encourage you to stick with it. In fact, it's one I look forward to listening again because I'll surely discover so much more!

If you're a fan of the Goldfinch then you'll love this!

I'm excited to listen to this author's other novels.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful