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2018 Book Discussions > Hearts Invisible Furies - General discussion - no spoilers! (Apr 2018)

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message 1: by Doug (new)

Doug Welcome to the group read of John Boyne's 'The Heart's Invisible Furies'. I initially nominated the book back for the March read to impel me to read it myself, since I'd owned a copy for over a year and every time I picked it up it looked too daunting - both in length and because I had this notion it would be too complex (a la Joyce). I started it myself last Mon., and finished it Thurs., so neither of those fears proved true ... and I hope if you have similar ones, it won't dissuade you from participating. Anyway, I LOVED it and hope you find similar enjoyment. My review is here (it contains no major spoilers, but you might prefer to read it after you have finished the book yourselves):

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Rather than proffering specific topics, as I usually do when moderating, I think I will let the group guide the discussion - so dig in and share what your thoughts are! This thread is for general discussion of the book as a whole, and please don't discuss anything that might be considered a spoiler. There is a separate thread for more specific topics on which spoilers ARE allowed.


message 2: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
Thanks Doug


message 3: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments I enjoyed this book. My review is here - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... - but if you like to read a book knowing nothing, don't read it in advance of the book! I edited it as I found my original review (which must have been written late one evening) had quite a few typos and unclear sentences! I like Boyne. I've read 3 books of his and was glad that Doug's nomination alerted me to this one. To be honest, I have a couple of earlier ones sitting on my shelf but I'm glad to be discussing this one here. I thought this one was different from the others I've read in that it was not as gut wrenching and even had some humor.

Here are links to a few reviews I found. They give away more than my and Doug's review together!
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...
http://www.startribune.com/review-the...
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re....


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert | 426 comments Just to say Doug - I know we had a big clash in the past but I do not bear grudges :) Not my style.

Anyway this book is EXCELLENT - I liked every aspect about it plus I could relate to the main character's religious situation. It is clever without being patronising and still highly readable. I have nothing but praise for the Heart's Invisible Furies.


message 5: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
Thanks for the reviews Linda. I am not yet sure whether I can fit this one in - maybe later in the month.


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue | 61 comments I started this one early, thinking it might take longer to read. But I was drawn in from the very beginning and I found it to be a great page turner! I finished in just a couple days.

I thought the writing was excellent, the characters very relatable, and the overall story was compelling.

I'm going to read the reviews posted by Linda before I post in the Spoilers discussion.


message 7: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 161 comments I'm starting this one today . . . in audio . . . and look forward to discussing! I have not read John Boyne before so nothing to compare it to, but I'm excited to read this one given all the stellar reviews.


message 8: by Doug (new)

Doug Suzy wrote: "I'm starting this one today . . . in audio . . . and look forward to discussing! I have not read John Boyne before so nothing to compare it to, but I'm excited to read this one given all the stella..."

Will be interested to hear how the audio is... if they've got someone with the perfect Irish lift, it should be fantastic!


message 9: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
I have picked up a copy and will read it once a couple more of the MBI longlist are out of the way.


message 10: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 161 comments Doug wrote: "Suzy wrote: "I'm starting this one today . . . in audio . . . and look forward to discussing! I have not read John Boyne before so nothing to compare it to, but I'm excited to read this one given a..."

Yes, he's good. I recognize him from a couple of Tana French's books. I will say that I'm pretty immediately drawn into this one!


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert | 426 comments A public apology to Doug:

Three years ago Doug made a comment on a forum and I reacted in a churlish way. I insulted him, made judgments and said some hurtful things. This was unacceptable behaviour, and I fully apologise for my actions. Thankfully I have improved on my forum decorum and have managed not to lash out at people when their ideologies clash with mine.

I repeat I am sorry.

Robert


message 12: by Rohn (new)

Rohn Federbush (rohnfederbush) | 23 comments Nice.


message 13: by Lily (last edited Apr 05, 2018 11:40AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments @3LindaJ^ wrote: "..."

Linda -- I couldn't get either the Guardian or Star Tribune link to work?

What a shift in reading experience from Coetzee!

My initial impression was of joining a 21st century Fielding ( Tom Jones ), a feeling that still hasn't entirely dissipated in a hundred pages.

Try this for The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...

Excerpt: (view spoiler)

"Boyne’s sombre 2014 novel A History of Loneliness anatomised such corruption and abuse, and he returns to track these seismic changes in Irish society with a broader, bawdier and more comedic sweep of narrative in The Heart’s Invisible Furies. " (Helen Dunmore)

More about the author than about his works:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandst...


message 14: by Doug (new)

Doug Robert wrote: "A public apology to Doug:

Three years ago Doug made a comment on a forum and I reacted in a churlish way. I insulted him, made judgments and said some hurtful things. This was unacceptable behavio..."


Thank you, Robert, for owning up to your behavior - apology accepted! And am happy to put this behind us. (I would have replied earlier, but hadn't seen your message).


message 15: by Doug (last edited Apr 10, 2018 05:20PM) (new)

Doug Lily wrote: "@3LindaJ^ wrote: "..."

Linda -- I couldn't get either the Guardian or Star Tribune link to work?

What a shift in reading experience from Coetzee!

My initial impression was of joi..."



Thanks for your links - here's another one that I had posted on my review, but had neglected to do here - a terrific interview with Mr. Boyne: https://www.readitforward.com/author-...

I have also just finished reading his previous novel - A History of Loneliness, which is mentioned in the later link - and it is another terrific 5-star read ... albeit in a much different vein than this.


message 16: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
I read the first part last night, but it is too early to say how I feel about it...


message 17: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 161 comments I can't put this one down! It's a delight - multi-layered and complex. Laugh-out-loud and tears as well. Can't wait to finish it to look at all the reviews and hop over to the thread with spoilers.


message 18: by Lily (last edited Apr 11, 2018 11:53AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Here is where I found the Star Tribune review (8/25/17), along with a current (4/11/18) news link about Paul Ryan's decision to not seek re-election!

http://www.startribune.com/review-the...

Thanks to Linda for putting me on to looking for this review by Laurie Hertzel.

Excerpt: "John Boyne ( The Boy in the Striped Pajamas ) dedicated his new book to John Irving, but it might be Charles Dickens to whom he owes the greater literary debt.

(excerpt continued) (view spoiler)

I appreciated Ms. Hertzel's allusion to Pip. I was having visions of Bleak House courthouse scenes in the second part of the novel.


message 19: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 161 comments Lily wrote: "Here is where I found the Star Tribune review (8/25/17), along with a current (4/11/18) news link about Paul Ryan's decision to not seek re-election!

http://www.startribune.com/review-the...-..."


Thanks for looking for this! I will check it out once I've finished the book. I love Laurie Hertzel, our local books editor here in Minneapolis. :)


message 20: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
The 1945 section seemed a bit like a caricature of an Irish misery memoir, but it is getting better. It reminds me a little of William Boyd's Any Human Heart.


message 21: by Kay (new)

Kay | 73 comments Ah, I am so glad to be finally able to participate in this discussion. I have missed multiple books I wanted to read with this group this year, but I just got a hold of the Boyne and am happy to have the same initial positive reaction as others.


message 22: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2627 comments Mod
Should finish this tonight and still have mixed feelings. It is readable and quite moving but Boyne's authorial puppet strings are a little too obvious and there are too many coincidences...


message 23: by Doug (new)

Doug Hugh wrote: "Should finish this tonight and still have mixed feelings. It is readable and quite moving but Boyne's authorial puppet strings are a little too obvious and there are too many coincidences..."

Some of the coincidences initially rubbed me the wrong way also (especially who shows up in Amsterdam - since this is the no spoilers thread I won't say who!) ... but then I realized that Fielding and Dickens were even MORE flagrantly at fault in that regard, so I let it go, as just a quirk of the picaresque form! :-)


message 24: by Lily (last edited Apr 17, 2018 06:25AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Doug wrote: "...I realized that Fielding and Dickens were even MORE flagrantly at fault in that regard, so I let it go, as just a quirk of the picaresque form!..."

It is sort of fun to contrast our 21st century expectations of realism and fantasy with, what, 19th century conventions. It has not felt like Joyce nor Durrell nor Lawrence, although some readers may see parallels I have missed.


message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments You may enjoy snooping on our author's 2018 Challenge, for which he has read 34 of 120 books: https://www.goodreads.com/user_challe...

As best I can tell, he has rated none of them.


message 26: by Sue (new)

Sue | 61 comments I've read some comments from other authors saying they either won't rate other author's books at all, or will only rate books if they are worthy of 5 stars.

Which makes sense - what goes around comes around.

Of course, I have no idea if this author subscribes to either theory, but might explain the lack of ratings. I'd like to hope that he just doesn't rate books rather than the sad thought that he hasn't read a single 5-star book this year.


message 27: by Doug (new)

Doug Sue wrote: "I've read some comments from other authors saying they either won't rate other author's books at all, or will only rate books if they are worthy of 5 stars.

Which makes sense - what goes around c..."


Interesting... I see 6 books he's rated, all with 5 stars, so presume he only gives ratings to those. I have read 7 of his 34 total, so seems we have similar interests.


message 28: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2472 comments Doug wrote: "Interesting... I see 6 books he's rated, all with 5 stars, so presume he only gives ratings to those...."

Thank you for the closer look, Doug. I have now spotted those six books! I suspect Sue has hit it on the head with her "what goes around comes around" comment.


message 29: by Dan (new)

Dan This may tempt you to take a trip to Dublin: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: John Banville & Claire Kilroy with John Boyne at the Smock Alley Theatre on Tuesday, May 22nd at 6:00.


message 30: by Doug (new)

Doug A belated thank you to all who participated in our April group read - I found all of your comments interesting and enlightening, and I am pleased most of you loved the book as much as I did (or at least LIKED it!) Until next time ....


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