As a child born out of wedlock, Cyril Avery has a strike against him. Growing up in Ireland, he learns that being an illegitimate son is a bad thing, and is considered “not a real Avery” by his adoptive father Charles. His adoptive parents, Maud and Charles, are more aloof parents, their standard being providing food and clothes for their adoptive son Cyril, but don’t provide any of the love or affection that most parents tend to give their children. They aren’t neglectful parents, they just aren’t interested in spending time with Cyril. Cyril wonders who he really is, if he isn’t a real Avery.
In short, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is novel about finding yourself, and sticking to your identity, even if it means fleeing the country.
As a child, Cyril learns that he is gay, without quite knowing what the word means. He doesn’t learn what the word gay means until he’s much older. By then, Cyril has lusted after his best friend Julian Woodbead for a long time. In a way, Cyril has known he was gay since the age of seven, where he and Julian compared penis sizes in a moment of childish curiosity.
As Cyril grows older, he finds it harder and harder to hide the fact that he prefers men over women. Following his wedding, he flees the country, heading to Amsterdam. There, he learns that being gay isn’t a crime. With his past behind him, Cyril gains the love and admiration of a young man by the name of Bastiaan. They begin to navigate life together, forming their own small family after helping a rent boy get out of trouble.
While I’ve not quite finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I intend to finish it either today or tomorrow. I’ve fallen in love with Cyril and Bastiaan, and couldn’t be happier for the two of them. I’ve actually read father than the scenes I’ve described, but I’ll let you decide whether or not to pick up the book. (I’m thrilled to see how this novel ends, especially since Cyril is back in Ireland at the moment.)
If you want a piece of historical and cultural fiction, filled with interesting and fresh characters, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is for you. If you want to learn more about the AIDS epidemic and Ireland in general, then this book is something you shouldn’t miss. It’s a triumph, and will stay with you long after you’re done reading.