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Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Colm Toibin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1052181,822 (3.69)426
Title:Brooklyn: A Novel
Authors:Colm Toibin
Info:Publisher Unknown (2010)
Collections:Read in 2010, Bookclub, Your library

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 426 mentions

English (208)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (218)
Showing 1-5 of 208 (next | show all)
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 |
From my blog

This was a book club read for me and I think a great one for book clubs that are willing to be open and personal with each other. The journey of Eilis will make you think 'how would I respond, what would I decide, do I make decisions for myself or others', where is home and what does it mean to me and I believe the response to some of these questions would represent your feel and rating of the book.

I enjoyed the character development in Brooklyn and the different parts of the book.

Part 1, we get an intro of Eilis life in Ireland and her journey of sea sickness to Brooklyn. I enjoyed the intro, it showed what immigrants will go through for the betterment of their selves and for family.

Part 2, she arrives and the priest that helped to confirm her living in Brooklyn introduces her to her landlady and helps to settle her in a job. I enjoyed seeing who Eilis was, a loner that everyone likes in my opinion. She respects everyone and it shows through her actions. The only thing I think she did for herself is her accounting studies, this fueled a spark in her.

Part 3 was the longest. We see Eilis, the Ireland young lady settle in at Brooklyn. She is past the phase of being homesick and becomes a part. She meets a young man and they fall in love. She gains respect over all the other ladies at the house she resides without trying, but being true to herself. She treats customers with the utmost respect, including the coloured ladies when this change took place in Brooklyn. The store moments were my favourites, back in Ireland and Brooklyn. People watching can be so interesting and reading was mesmerizing at times. Tragedy back in Ireland takes place and the decision to go back and visit occurs.

....she felt almost guilty that she had handed some of her grief to him, and then she felt close to him for his willingness to take it and hold it, in all its rawness, all its dark confusion. Kindle 68%

Part 4 is touching and confusing at the same time. I was disappointed that she hadn't found herself and was unable to be true to herself. I was engaged and couldn't wait to see what happened. You know you are near the ending and BAM, it ends, just like that, the story is over. It was one of the worst endings ever for me, so much so I immediately hated reading the book and considered giving it a 2 1/2.

It made her feel strangely as though she were two people, one who had battled against two cold winters and many hard days in Brooklyn and fallen in love there, and the other who was her mother's daughter, the Eilis whom everyone knew, or thought they knew. Kindle 79%

I have set with the thought for a few days and I am on the fence with 3 1/2 or 4. I decided on 3 1/2 because I believe it depends on the reader but I wouldn't know who to recommend to. The fact that I can see discussion helps, I think it is a great book club read. I enjoy when authors allow the ending to be open, allowing the reader to make a decision, I truly detested this ending though, I really felt like 'where the hell is the rest'. The ending was a shock to my system. ( )
  marcejewels | Jun 17, 2016 |
It started out interesting enough, but I found myself getting more and more aggravated with the main character. She was just letting poeple make decisions for her and seemed to not be taking any responsibility for her own life. The whole story felt rushed. There were so many interesting characters that could have been explored and expanded on but they just came and went with no additional information about them.

I was very disappointed in the ending too. I thought I had missed something, but no it just ends. I love stories about Ireland and Irish immigrants but this was very disppointing.
( )
  jldhuse | Jun 7, 2016 |
Brooklyn is the story of a young girl, Eilis Lacey, who leaves her home in Ireland and moves to Brooklyn, NY, in search of the better life her older sister and mother want for her. This is the 1950's when travel was slower, and most communication was done by mail. Telephone calls were few and far between. Chances are that she may never see her family again. With the help of a priest, she finds a job and enrolls in night classes to study bookkeeping. She finds herself falling in love, and having to make choices when she goes back to Ireland after the unexpected death of a family member.
  NanaCC | May 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 208 (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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