I usually don’t start my reviews with a quote from the author her/himself but I think this one is very important and needs to be read. In my opinion it’s the message John Boyne wanted to convey when he wrote “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” and looking at it in retrospective I could feel it in every single sentence he wrote.
There were the ups and downs of life, everything that happens in between and the “what ifs” that involuntarily come our way and have a tendency to haunt us for the rest of our lives. In the end however the only thing that truly matters is whether we can live with them or not. Whether we can accept our mistakes and grave decisions and if we’re ready to embrace them with all the troubles they entailed.
Of course there’s a fine line between authenticity and exaggeration but Boyne made sure never to cross it. He balanced along it for the duration of the entire book and no matter how absurd some situations seemed to be, no matter how extreme some people’s opinion were, they were never far-fetched. There DO exist Mary-Margarets, Julians and Charles all over this world and it’s realistic to assume that they might eventually cross your way. 😉
In short: This book was amazing!
And ridiculously charming.
I loved every minute of it and the characters really grew on me, which is the reason why my characters section is going to be super long again. *lol* As always I need to add my two cents though so #SorryNotSorry. ;-P
Welcome to my characters section! If you already read the book or don’t want to read it but want to know more about the characters, proceed. If you don’t want to be spoiled and still want to read the book, I’d recommend clicking that nice exit button though. It’s your choice, choose wisely. XD
”I’m not sure what it was about my appearance that made me seem like a pubescent rapist but for some peculiar reason I took this as a compliment.”
Aww Cyril was such a precious bean. *lol* I think he was what you’d call an old soul in a young body and it made me sad to read how ashamed and lonely he felt. I could relate to his struggle and why he was afraid to come out, because let’s face it Ireland at that time was not the kind of country you would have wanted to announce that you’re gay. If anyone of the police found you with another man you could go to jail for it and it’s no surprise that Cyril tried to keep it a secret from his family and friends. The problem with secrets is that sooner or later they gnaw on you and eat you alive and this is exactly what happened with Cyril. There was a point he couldn’t pretend anymore and he did what he had to do and ran away. Was it wrong? Yes. Did he have to do it? Yes, because back then he actually had no other choice. If the constitution of an entire land is against you, to leave seems to be the only possible decision, right?
”I had never considered myself to be a dishonest person, hating the idea that I was capable of such mendacity and deceit, but the more I examined the architecture of my life, the more I realized how fraudulent were its foundations. The belief that I would spend the rest of my time on earth lying to people weighted heavily on me and at such times I gave serious consideration to taking my own life.”
”I intend to live a long and healthy life and fuck as many girls as I can. I’d like to die in my bed, aged one hundred and five, with a twenty-two year old bouncing up and down on top of me.”
Ahhh dear Julian… this character made me so sad. I mean he was one of those guys you can’t help but like, he was sassy and knew how to work a crowd, but no matter his big mouth, when it came to the important things he seemed to fail miserably. I mean on the one hand he had countless love affairs and basically made it a hobby to have sex with every woman he found attractive but on the other hand he judged Cyril for being gay and sleeping with many different men. Even more so, he had no problem to accept that Jasper Timson, one of his old classmates, was gay and in love with him, but after all those years he was Cyril’s best friend he was disgusted when he finally told him that he’s gay. Talk about being hypocritical…. And then the way it all ended for him… T_T
”He was arrogant, certainly, and had no respect for authority but he made his pronouncements with such insouciance that I found it impossible not to be charmed by him.”
”I remember a friend of mine once telling me that we hate what we fear in ourselves,” she said with a shrug. “Perhaps that has something to do with it.”
I loved her character and she was exactly the kind of woman I always want to find in a book. She was strong and stood by her opinion and even though life handed her some tough cards she never even thought about giving up. Catherine made the best of her life and I loved to see her so happy at the end of the book! Plus, I lived and breathed for those short moments when Cyril’s and her path crossed. They were always very polite and honest with each other and I think she was more of a mother to him than Maude ever was, even when they both had no clue that they were actually mother and son. ❤
”My boyfriends, if I had any, would surely have more sense than to let underage boys wander the corridors unsupervised,” she said, refusing to be intimidated by him. “And I won’t be poked and prodded by priests, do you hear me? Those days are long behind me. So take care not to touch me again.” Mrs. Goggin vs. Father Squires
”You’re a bit of an oddball, Jonathan,” I said. “Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Nineteen people this year alone,” he said. “And it’s only May.”
”The vulgarity of it all,” she said. “Popularity. Readers. I can’t bear it. I knew Charles would destroy my career in the end.”
Haha! Well, Maude certainly was an oddball for sure. *lol* An author who doesn’t want to be popular and writes her books just for herself is definitely unusual, but I guess to some degree I could even understand her. There’s something special about creating a story and the enjoyment you get from writing can be really amazing. It’s just sad that she never was the kind of mother Cyril would have needed but I suppose neither Charles nor Maude were prepared to deal with a little child. They were too used to their own routine and too egoistic to have a child. It’s true they provided him with a roof over his head and with food, which is probably more than some other parents can give, yet they never provided him with love and I think that’s one of the main reasons why it took Cyril so long to accept, let alone to love himself.
”It just doesn’t make sense to manacle yourself sexually to the same person for fifty or sixty years when your relationship with that person can be so much happier if you give each other the freedom to enter and be entered by people of the opposite sex whom you find attractive. A marriage should be about friendship and companionship, not about sex.”
Dear Charles had quite some modern views and I think deep down inside of him he was actually an okay kind of guy. *lol* Still, I really disliked that he always told Cyril that he’s not a real Avery. Even when he had to go to jail for the very first time, he made it pretty clear that Cyril was only his adoptive child and not his „real“ child and this distinction never sat well with me. I mean Cyril was their son in every sense of the word and even though his parents treated him like a stranger, he still loved them the way only a child can do. I was so sad when Charles died, but somehow it also made me happy that he acknowledged Cyril at the end. He had to hear those words and I’m glad Charles eventually said them. =)
”Oh good. Because you’re not a real Avery, don’t forget.”
“Yes, I knew that too,” I said smiling.
“But I’m glad we adopted you,” he added. “You’re a good boy. A kind boy. You always were.”
Cyril & Julian:
”When we see each other at family functions, I’ll be polite to you so no one finds out the truth. But don’t ever think that I feel anything towards you other than total and utter loathing. And if you dropped dead on your honeymoon, I’d cry no tears over you.”
Their story broke my heart into thousand little pieces! I was devastated when Cyril confessed his love to Julian!! Julian’s reaction was so bad; it was every nightmare come true, every doubt and every second of guilt centred on that one single moment. It was a hit right in the stomach and it hurt so, so much. T_T I mean there was a reason why Cyril never told him and instead of proving him wrong, Julian reacted exactly how Cyril expected him to. This is our biggest fear, to show our true self and to be rejected for it. For poor Cyril this nightmare became reality. I mean I understand Julian’s POV too, it was horrible that his best friend was about to ditch his sister right in front of the altar but damn if he just would have stopped for a little moment and thought things through. To force Cyril to marry Alice was the worst thing he could have done and he did it without hesitation. And then… after all those years, after everything that happened Julian saw him once again. In a hospital bed, having AIDS. Gosh, this was so damn sad. I mean after all the girls Julian was with this didn’t really come as a surprise… but still. It was heart-breaking nevertheless. They got a last chance to talk and to make their peace with each other and even though it made me cry like a little girl that moment was so important and necessary and … T_T I can’t even. I’m crying just thinking about it. When Cyril held Julian and told him to let go… *sobs uncontrollably* Despite all their differences, despite all the bad blood and anger between them, they were friends in the end and Julian died in the arms of Cyril. T_T
”And we’re enemies now, are we?” I asked.
“We’re not friends, that’s for sure.”
“We used to be.”
How many times throughout my youth had I dreamed of such a moment and now all I could do was bury my face in his back and weep.
“Cyril…” whispered Julian.
“Just let go,” I whispered back.
Alice & Cyril:
”It’s not the name that’s gay, you know.”
“No, they think Cyril is you and that we’ve got back together.
“Would you like that, Alice?”
“I’d rather bore a hole to the centre of the earth with my tongue. Why, would you?”
“Very much. I miss your body.”
“Oh, shut up.”
I loved those two! *lol* I mean I could understand why Alice gave Cyril a hard time after he left her at their wedding reception, but the nice thing was that she eventually came around and became his best friend in the end. I guess to have a son together might have helped as well but I always liked Alice and unlike her brother she was a very compassionate and sympathetic person. I think it was due to those attributes that she and Cyril got along way better after they had a talk and even though she made a lot of fun about him not coming to certain events they both took it with humour and were able to laugh about it in the end. =) So yes, their relationship filled me with hope and joy and I was very glad that Cyril managed to make amends with Alice.
“The Heart’s Invisible Furies” was a wonderful book. It forced me to feel the entire bandwidth of human emotions and at times it was so hilarious that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. The characters were unique and realistic and the irony of certain situations was spot on. It was as much a tale about Cyril’s life as it was a story about Irish history and if you like interwoven and intricate stories I’m sure you’ll love this one! 😉