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Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Colm Toibin

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2,5621772,345 (3.69)367
Title:Brooklyn: A Novel
Authors:Colm Toibin
Info:Publisher Unknown (2010)
Collections:Your library, Read in 2010, Bookclub

Work details

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

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» See also 367 mentions

English (166)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this quiet book about a nice Irish girl who immigrates to America in the 1950s. I liked this book because the main character is a good person and though she has to work hard and meets with some grief and hard decisions, things generally go well for her and she has people helping her along the way. It was nice to read a book where things don't have to keep going wrong for the book to be deemed interesting.

I read this on vacation and it was perfect. Engaging but easy to get in and out of quickly as things were happening around me. This was my first book by Toibin and I'm definitely interested in reading more. ( )
  japaul22 | Aug 9, 2015 |
I enjoyed reading this novel for a reading group. The writing coveys an almost dreamlike clarity. Time can pass quickly and slowly. The story focuses on Eilis Lacy but all the detail is slow to emerge and character is often only seen in background/foreground relation. What is not said can say more than what is not said. Immigrant issues and sexuality arise. It is not plot driven but moves dreamily along. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
I adored this book: it grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go.

Yes, it's quite a girly book, but who cares - it has pace, warmth, and loveable characters, and certainly tugs at your heart strings.

It's surprising that this book is written by a man, as he so successfully gives real womanly insight to the character of Eilis and the other women in the book. He achieved something special in that he had me really behind the big decision the character made at one point, and then equally rooting for her when she seemed to have a change of heart. To me that is just proof of wonderful writing - I was right inside the main character's head, feeling the mixed emotions with her.

This is a great beach read. If you haven't got to it yet, but it on your reading list for your next vacation.

Unashamedly 5 stars. ( )
2 vote AlisonY | Apr 18, 2015 |
The book has an old fashioned feel, perhaps because the protagonist's observations are so meticulously described. In fact the setting is not old old, only nostalgically old for people like me: the early fifties. But though the novel started slowly, through the third-person eyes of an Irish immigrant--a young, innocent, coming-of-age woman--about a fourth of the way through I pushed aside my predisposition for books with a quicker rhythm and began to admire the author's thorough portrait of a time and place as seen through her eyes. It struck me then that the writing reminded me of Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage, a book I liked quite a lot, and that I also had misgivings about before coming to appreciate its honesty and awareness. ( )
  copyedit52 | Apr 10, 2015 |
A beautifully written story of Eilis, a bright young Irish woman. Set in the late 40's, early 1950's, Eilis is studying bookkeeping but unable to find work. Her older sister Rose manages her immigration to American as the story opens. The author takes us deftly into the mind and spirit of the young girl, traveling alone in third class, settling into a boarding house, finding her first work. Her homesickness is artfully developed, as is her recovery and blossoming into a new life. Her first days in Ireland on a visit after Rose's death are also beautifully crafted, and when the lure of home is set against her new life in Brooklyn, the reader is drawn in the fight for Eilis' heart and loyalty.

This is a graceful story, nothing overstated, nothing dramatic, but a pure glimpse into the heart and mind of a young woman in particular circumstances at a particular time. Recommended. ( )
  wareagle78 | Jan 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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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