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Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Colm Toibin

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2,9962151,905 (3.69)416
Title:Brooklyn: A Novel
Authors:Colm Toibin
Info:Publisher Unknown (2010)
Collections:Read in 2010, Bookclub, Your library

Work details

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

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English (204)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 204 (next | show all)
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 |
A quiet but effective description of how love often slips into and out of a young woman's life. Beautiful, but not terribly romantic. ( )
  dele2451 | May 16, 2016 |
I grew to like Eilis less and less as I got more into the story. She was a brave person to go the United States and brave to persevere with her work and her studies. She was an obedient and moral person, willing to do just about anything anybody asked of her. She was a quick learner and sensitive to the feelings of those around her. On the other hand, she made some poor choices, and I felt she was too docile and unable to stand up for herself. She knew when she made a mistake. However, she wasn't consistent in making amends for her mistakes.

Right after finishing this book, I feel spent. There was no “happy-ever-after” feeling that is shallow and safe; rather, I was left with the perception that this is much of what life is about. Life is about real and imperfect people who do things to try and control other imperfect people. Life gives imperfect people (us) opportunities to make choices, and we must live with those choices and their consequences, and we must never forget that every decision affects those around us. Sometimes those choices mar the way others look at us or believe us to be, even if their perception is wrong. But life goes on, and we must make more choices.

Lesson taken? Live your life as best you can, staying true to yourself. Love those around you and strive not to hurt them. Ask for forgiveness, and don’t be afraid if you don’t get it. Eilis cheated on Tony because he wasn’t there to remind her that he was real, and if she had been able to stay in Ireland, she would have dealt with him from afar, not facing him. As the story ended, she was doing the same to Jim, not facing him but planning on explaining things from afar. Cowardly, courageous, curious Eilis. ( )
  Desdelyn | May 1, 2016 |
This is three and a half stars. The writing is beautiful, but I grew annoyed with the heroine's decisions and actions; there seemed to be directions that were opened up and not followed; and the ending seemed incomplete and inconclusive. ( )
  SaschaD | Apr 28, 2016 |
Colm Toibin lulls the reader into a false sense of security in the first part of Brooklyn with his understated way of writing. However, the dilemma that Eilis Lacey comes to face when she returns home to Ireland from Brooklyn completely grabbed my attention. A wonderful story of coming of age. ( )
  sianpr | Apr 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 204 (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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