The Heart's Invisible Furies

Hogarth: Crown. Aug. 2017. 592p. ISBN 9781524760786. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781524760809. F
In 2015, a ghost tells 70-year-old Cyril Avery he will soon die. Assured that he will rejoin lost loved ones, Cyril experiences a previously elusive peace. Cyril was born in Dublin in 1945 to an unwed teenager. His adoptive parents are eccentric and distant, though they shelter him from intolerance and cruelty as he comes to terms with his sexuality in a repressive Ireland. Cyril's life story is extraordinary, tragic, and triumphant and somehow revolves around his recurring acquaintance with the brave and resilient Mrs. Goggin. She's a sort of guardian angel in his formative years, but in middle age Cyril finds himself consoling his aging, vulnerable protector as she faces tragedy in her own remarkable life. Their compassion for each other ultimately leads them on a mutual quest for closure and renewal.
VERDICT Boyne dedicates his wise, beautiful 15th novel to John Irving. This tribute fits a story calling to mind the humane sagas of T.S. Garp, Owen Meaney, and the humble tale of Piggy Sneed. Readers will fall in love with Boyne's characters, especially Mrs. Goggin and Cyril's adoptive mother, Maude Avery, in this heartbreaking and hilarious story. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]

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