84 pages 2 hours read

John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2017

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Part 1, Books 1-2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “Shame”, Part 1, Book 1: “1945: The Cuckoo in the Nest” - Part 1, Book 2: “1952: The Vulgarity of Popularity”

Part 1, Book 1, Chapter 1 Summary: “The Good People of Goleen”

Narrated by protagonist Cyril Avery, the story begins as he recalls a moment at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in Goleen, West Cork, Ireland, 1945. Along with the rest of the small town, Cyril’s devout grandparents, his six uncles (who are hungover), and his mother (Catherine Goggin) sit in the pews. Father James Monroe points out Catherine, who is 16. He demands she come to the altar, calls her a “slut” (8), threatens to slap her, and demands she confess the name of the boy who impregnated her. Catherine refuses to provide a name. Father Monroe kicks her down to the aisle and tells her to leave Goleen. He drags her outside as her family and the church stand by. Catherine goes home. Her uncle is there—he is the baby’s father, though this not explicitly revealed until the last Book. Her uncle tries to apologize, but Catherine dismisses him and leaves for Dublin.

Part 1, Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary: “A One-Way Ticket”

Catherine gathers her bag, which was packed by her family, and a few other things from her room before departing for the train. She keeps the one-way train ticket to Dublin safe in her purse, feeling the ticket symbolizes “the beginning of her new life” (12).