Cyril Avery is adopted at birth and raised by eccentric and well-to-do parents who make it clear that he is not a real Avery. Nonetheless he perseveres, practically raising himself in their sprawling Dublin mansion. The ambitious novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies (Hogarth Press, digital galley) follows Avery’s entire life from the 1940s to the present day.
While away at school Avery comes to the realization that he is gay. But given the mores of the day, he keeps that fact to himself. The novel begins and ends in Ireland and a large part of the plot deals with the fact that Ireland is unsympathetic, if not overtly cruel, to gay men. One doctor tells him there are not any gay men in Ireland.
Over the course of the novel Avery struggles with his homosexuality, trying to find his place in society and attempting to create meaningful relationships. Along the way we meet a number of interesting characters, many of whom interact in unexpected and remarkable ways.
But Avery is not an entirely sympathetic character. He has his character flaws and does an unthinkable cruelty to a woman who loved and trusted him. But because this book covers Avery’s full life we get to experience all of its highs and lows. But Avery should be judged solely by this single act as he is a product of all of his experiences and actions.
Written by John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the novel shares all of the horrors, disappointment, triumphs and joys of Avery’s life. This is an epic story that throws in a number of unexpected plot twists that makes reading its 592 pages a pleasure.