Day two and another day at work before I can go join the book festival fun. Tonight’s event was the wonderful John Boyne.
John Boyne has an impressive collection of novels behind him as well as a great collection of short stories. His most well known novel is the heartbreaking and beautifully written The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. The book has sold over 9 million copies and was adapted for the incredible film I am sure you have all seen.
At the start of the year I read The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain which is another incredible war story. This was the book that really made me fall in love with John Boyne.
His event at the festival was all about his newest book, The Heart’s Invisible Furies. The story follows Cyril Avery and his journey of self-discovery in Ireland from the 1940s to the present day. Right at the beginning of the conversation, the themes of the book are set out as a way of guiding the event as the hour went on. The book is all about family, identity, fear and sexuality.
John explained who Cyril Avery is, his childhood as an adopted child, his time in the church and getting to grips with his sexuality. The book is in chronological order, but goes in 7 year leaps, beginning in the 1940s and ending in 2015, at the Equal Rights Marriage vote in Ireland.
What I loved was that he talked a lot about his passion for writing and his writing techniques, which is something I always love hearing about. John never plots out a whole novel, he finds pure joy in writing and loves finding the story as he goes. He did say with this particular novel all he really knew was that he wanted to go in 7 year leaps ending it at the vote in 2015.
But what I found most interesting, and almost surprising, was his discussion on women in literature. He says this book is a feminist novel. He always wants his female characters to be strong in their own right, not to just be there to service the actions of the men. He creates a support between the “minorities”. He also spoke about the difference ways in which male and female authors are treated and the impact women have in the world of books. “When women stop reading, the novel dies.”
Overall, it sounds like it is going to be a fantastic read and I can’t wait to add it to my ever growing collection.
I am just loving the set up for the events at the festival and can’t wait to get stuck into more as the next two weeks go on.