84 pages 2 hours read

John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2017

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.


Socio-Historical Context: Social Change in the 20th and 21st Centuries

The Heart’s Invisible Furies tells the story of Cyril Avery’s life through the 20th and 21st centuries and during great social change. When Cyril is born, Ireland is still under the heavy influence of the Catholic Church; laws exist that oppress and target women and gay people.

After gaining independence from Britain over 20 years prior, it is a country still laying its political foundations. People who rebelled against independence during this time were sent to Irish internment camps along with those who supported the separation of Northern Ireland. This lasted until the 1970s, when a period of social upheaval saw the overturning of several unjust laws and policies. One such law enacted in 1861 was the Offense Against the Persons Act and placed being gay alongside bestiality, illegalizing both as criminal offenses against society as a whole. People caught in sexual acts with other men were subject to abuse and imprisonment, as well as social ostracization. This law was not repealed until the 1990s when another widespread social movement fought for change and rights for the LGBT+ community (Halpin, Hayley. “Here’s a short history of the battle for LGBT rights in Ireland.” The Journal, 2018).