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Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Colm Toibin

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2,6471852,258 (3.7)380
Title:Brooklyn: A Novel
Authors:Colm Toibin
Info:Scribner (2010), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:apt, fic

Work details

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

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» See also 380 mentions

English (175)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book, but was disappointed by the ending and lowered my rating for that reason. There's no resolution to the only real conflict in the book. Eilis makes a decision and starts out on that path, but she's changed her mind before and might change it again. Also, we only get a chance to see how one person reacts to her decision and that reaction is both strange and limited. I skimmed through a few other reviews and discovered that there are people who enjoy a story that leaves its readers up in the air, but when so much is left to tell, I'm a reader who feels cheated.

Brooklyn is all about one character, Eilis, and all written from her point of view. She was born and raised in Ireland, but when she is a young woman she travels to America to find opportunity. Eilis draws conclusions about other people she knows, but often finds that her assumptions are wrong. Other reviewers have called Eilis spineless and it is true that she doesn't like to make her own life choices. Still, I would call her too nice for her own good rather than weak. She reminded me of Ado Annie fromOklahoma!, a girl “who cain't say no.”

I liked the focus on relationships in Colm Toibin's writing and the careful portrayal of Eilis' feelings, such as her homesickness and her jealousy of her sister. It's a beautiful picture of a young woman's life.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions ( )
  SteveLindahl | Nov 27, 2015 |
A beautiful portrait of homesickness, alienation, and belonging. A recent immigrant from coastal Ireland to Brooklyn, New York, Eilis exists between two worlds, adrift and uncertain. She is a good girl, subsuming much of her natural energy and curiosity, and clinging to simple kindness and well-meaning strangers. She seems to have things figured out until a return to Ireland causes her to question decisions made and commitments given. Toibin's writing is lovely, and the development of Eilis as a character is well done. What would have been a 5-star read from me fell short due to my frustration with Eilis, especially at the end. Still, a wonderful novel. ( )
  katiekrug | Nov 14, 2015 |
the story is set in the time right after ww 2. the place Ireland and New York City. the theme is on community can be both a place of support and comfort and a source of oppression. the main character grew up in a small irish town. ruled by years of tradition where you knew what your role was and what your future would be. she goes to new york to an irish community ruled by the same traditions. it was changing, the was the generation before mad men. it both loving and oppresive. ( )
1 vote michaelbartley | Oct 12, 2015 |
I bought this book at the airport in a read and return bookstore. I couldn't wait to return it. I have found that a number of Booker Prize list books have not appealed to me. This one was a bit dark and fatalistic for my taste. The heroine is a character in conflict. She makes a choice for her future, but one is left feeling that it is not a good choice, rather the lesser of two bad choices.
1 vote astridnr | Oct 4, 2015 |
Eilis leaves Ireland in search of education and job opportunities. She's passing her classes and has adjusted to life in Brooklyn which includes a boyfriend. She doesn't tell her mother about everything, this is a family that is worried about worrying each other so important details like Tony, Eilis' boyfriend aren't mentioned. The Eilis' sister dies and after she finds out that she's passed her classes she returns to Ireland to visit. Her mother thinks that she's going to stay and has made plans for her to attend her friend's wedding. She's also trying to set her up with Jim Farrell, find her a job where Rose used to work, and become her mother's companion. Little does her mother know that Eilis is already married. ( )
1 vote lisa.schureman | Sep 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
Ultimately, Brooklyn does not feel limited. Tóibín makes a single incision, but it’s extraordinarily well-placed and strikes against countless nerve-ends. The novel is a compassionate reminder that a city must be made of people before it can be made of myths.
In tracking the experience, at the remove of half a century, of a girl as unsophisticated and simple as Eilis — a girl who permits herself no extremes of temperament, who accords herself no right to self-assertion — Toibin exercises sustained subtlety and touching respect. . .

In “Brooklyn,” Colm Toibin quietly, modestly shows how place can assert itself, enfolding the visitor, staking its claim.
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Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work.
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Book description
Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
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It is Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go.

(summary from another edition)

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