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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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3,2172281,724 (3.68)434
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 434 mentions

English (215)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  French (1)  English (228)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
I liked this very much - the way it was both incredibly detailed and yet seemed to exist in a kind of far away long ago. I also liked that Eilis wasn't particularly likable and found myself wondering if she would grow up to be any of the other female characters in the novel who were almost pathologically passive-aggressive - her mothers, Mrs Kehoe, the woman who owns the grocery store who gives her her very first job.

And yes, there's something very Jamesian about this - all that unexpressed longing and compartmentalized emotions. Very satisfying.

It also led me to look up a beautiful song - The Twisting of the Rope, which Eilis hears at the first dance she attends. ( )
1 vote laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
The story had me hooked from the beginning. I felt the book started off great and liked the characters and how the story was progressing. The biggest flaw, and what spoiled this book for me was the awkward intimacy and romance that Colm Toibin tried to pass off as endearing. The book did not redeem itself from the awkwardness of the romance scenes, which was very disappointing because the book held so much promise at the start of the book. ( )
  Shannon_Heusdens | Nov 8, 2016 |
A quieter book than Toibin's acclaimed The Master, with the polar opposite of Henry James as the lead character--an exasperatingly passive young woman named Eilis, who dreams of nothing more than a steady bookkeeping job. I liked it more than that description might suggest--it's beautifully written, and I liked Eilis even though I did want to shake her sometimes. But very slight. It's a little like a lesser Alice Munro story writ large. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Story of a young girl that immigrates to Brooklyn. Lots and lots of descriptive material that didn't really engage me in the story. ( )
  Pmaurer | Oct 1, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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