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Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin
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Brooklyn: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Colm Toibin

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3,1452231,783 (3.69)429
Member:michelestjohn
Title:Brooklyn: A Novel
Authors:Colm Toibin
Info:Publisher Unknown (2010)
Collections:Read in 2010, Bookclub, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

  1. 60
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (kiwiflowa)
  2. 72
    'Tis, a Memoir by Frank McCourt (bergs47)
  3. 30
    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Othemts)
  4. 10
    The Empty Family: Stories by Colm Tóibín (Christy.)
  5. 10
    Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather (pacocillero)
  6. 10
    Someone by Alice McDermott (Ciruelo)
  7. 00
    The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert (charl08)
  8. 11
    The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane (JGoto)
    JGoto: Irish immigrants with emphasis on family, but the story is more complex.
  9. 00
    Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan (DubaiReader)
  10. 00
    Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (jayne_charles)
  11. 01
    Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (anglemark)
    anglemark: There's something about the laconic prose and the description of a young person's plight that made me associate these two books with each other.
  12. 01
    Lila by Marilynne Robinson (charl08)
    charl08: In both novels, key character faces new, difficult choices in new places. Both beautifully written, compelling.
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» See also 429 mentions

English (211)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this very much until the somewhat enigmatic ending. Although I think it made sense, it felt like a very abrupt stop to the story. Eillis is a fascinating character, she starts out as so very timid and afraid of everything but manages to make her way in Brooklyn and her new life. Going back to Ireland seems to throw her back into all her old patterns again. It is vrey much a thought book, it is hard to see how it would have become a film, it mostly takes place in Ellis's head. I can imagine she would be hard to understand without all her thoughts crowding into the narrative. Defeinetely another great novel by Toibin.
  amyem58 | Sep 19, 2016 |
A good solid read about young Eilis Lacey leaving her family in Ireland and coming to Brooklyn to improve her job prospects. She is smart, independent and homesick but with guidance from Father Flood she manages to make her way in a new and unfamiliar culture.

Brooklyn is all about learning by observing, growing up, making mistakes and becoming an adult.

I enjoyed it but felt Eilis may have made a half-hearted life decision as women have done and continue to do, settling for a stable future and conforming to expectations, sacrificing personal and professional passions. Ending was a bit disappointing. ( )
  Bookish59 | Sep 1, 2016 |
I was going to rate this book 4 stars but, honestly, I was really disappointed with the ending. So I would rate it 3.67 stars. It made sense and was true to Eilis' character development... but it just left me saying "That was it?". Poor Tony, he seems to love her for her.. and he's been betrayed. And poor Jim, Eilis is definitely not the right girl for him.
HOWEVER, besides the love triangle that neither Tony or Jim knew they were in.... I really did love the simple narrative and descriptions of New York, Ireland, and the adjustments Eilis had to make through her coming of age/immigration journey.


***************UPDATE:***************
I have now seen the movie and decided to change my book review to a solid 4 stars. I don't know if it was they way I interpreted the book or if it was Nick Hornby's screenwriting skills but I'm liking the book and the ending a lot more now. The movie tones down Jim and Eilis' relationship and heats up Tony and Eilis more. When reading the book, Eilis often left me feeling that she was cold... but in the movie, she was warm, witty, and charming. I think she possessed these qualities in the book and I missed them when reading it.

So, in conclusion, read this book, see the movie. Great experience! ( )
  mleivers | Aug 29, 2016 |
Colm Toibin shows how simple language can make beautiful prose. He is also a master of observations, many times you can simply identify with the feelings of Ellis Lacey. Toibin creates very human characters, though his male characters Tony and Farell seem very alike, which is probably the reason why Ellis likes them. Ellis turns out to be imperfect, which to me is a blot on the story. I would have loved the story more if she had remained true to Tony, but that would have made too predictable a plot. Nonetheless, this twist at the end is a further testimony to the master story teller that Toibin is. ( )
  siok | Aug 12, 2016 |
Great writing ( )
  Ahtoosa | Aug 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (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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