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Colm Tóibín

Author of Brooklyn

87+ Works 20,399 Members 849 Reviews 65 Favorited

About the Author

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Ireland in 1955. He studied history and English at University College Dublin, earning his B.A. in 1975. After graduating he moved to Barcelona for three years and taught at the Dublin School of English. In 1978 he returned to Dublin and began working on an show more M.A. in Modern English and American Literature. He wrote for In Dublin, Hibernia, and The Sunday Tribune. He became the Features Editor of In Dublin in 1981, and then a year later accepted the position of Editor for the Irish current affairs magazine Magill. His first book, Walking Along the Border, was published in 1987 and his first novel, The South, was published in 1990. He wrote for The Sunday Independent as a drama or television critic and political commentator. He writes regularly for The London Review of Books. He has written several other novels including The Story of the Night, The Blackwater Lightship, Brooklyn, The Testament of Mary, and Nora Webster. The Heather Blazing received the 1993 Encore Award and The Master received the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. In 2015 he made The New Zealand High Profile Titles List with All The Light We Cannot See. He was short listed for the 2015 Folio Prize for his title Nora Webster. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Photo by Larry D. Moore, 2006 (Wikimedia Commons)


Works by Colm Tóibín

Brooklyn (2009) 5,292 copies
The Master (2004) 3,115 copies
Nora Webster (2014) 1,476 copies
The Blackwater Lightship (1999) 1,457 copies
The Testament of Mary (2012) 1,354 copies
The Magician (2021) 899 copies
The Heather Blazing (1992) 831 copies
House of Names (2017) 743 copies
The Story of the Night (1996) 732 copies
Mothers and Sons: Stories (2006) 717 copies
The Empty Family: Stories (2010) 591 copies
The South (1990) 426 copies
Homage to Barcelona (1990) 257 copies
Long Island: A Novel (2024) 159 copies
The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction (1999) — Editor — 152 copies
On Elizabeth Bishop (2015) 131 copies
Lady Gregory's Toothbrush (2002) 105 copies
A Guest at the Feast: Essays (2011) — Narrator, some editions — 87 copies
The Shortest Day (2020) 54 copies
Vinegar Hill: Poems (2022) 43 copies
New Writing from Ireland (1993) — Editor — 36 copies
The Use of Reason (2006) 20 copies
The Blackwater Lightship [2004 TV Movie] (2004) — Author — 12 copies
Een lange winter (2006) 11 copies
Dubliners (1990) 10 copies
Synge: A Celebration (2005) 10 copies
The Trial of the Generals (1990) 7 copies
Surviving Ireland (2015) 7 copies
Ploughshares Spring 2011 (2011) 7 copies
Seeing is Believing (1740) 6 copies
Pale Sister (2019) 5 copies
Beauty in a Broken Place (2004) 5 copies
Richard Gorman (2005) 4 copies
Summer of '38 (2016) 4 copies
Enniscorthy: A History (2010) — Editor — 3 copies
Ο Μάγος 2 copies
Čarobnjak 1 copy
Sleep 1 copy
Martyrs and Metaphors (1987) 1 copy

Associated Works

Persuasion (1817) — Introduction, some editions; Introduction, some editions — 28,825 copies
The Sun Also Rises (1926) — Introduction, some editions — 23,017 copies
The Portrait of a Lady (1881) — Afterword, some editions — 10,776 copies
Another Country (1962) — Introduction, some editions — 2,949 copies
The Golden Bowl (1904) — Preface, some editions — 2,762 copies
The Go-Between (1953) — Introduction, some editions — 2,339 copies
The Tunnel (1948) — Introduction, some editions — 2,256 copies
The Hour of the Star (1986) — Introduction, some editions — 2,049 copies
The Book of Evidence (1989) — Introduction, some editions — 1,556 copies
The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography (2007) — Introduction, some editions — 1,278 copies
Hadji Murat (1912) — Foreword, some editions — 1,107 copies
Captains of the Sands (1937) — Introduction, some editions — 892 copies
The Book of Other People (2008) — Contributor — 747 copies
De Profundis and Other Writings (1954) — Editor, some editions — 690 copies
Death in Spring (1986) — Introduction, some editions — 379 copies
Finbar's Hotel (1997) — Contributor — 323 copies
Mortification: Writers' Stories of Their Public Shame (2003) — Contributor — 280 copies
Voices in the Evening (1961) — Introduction, some editions — 241 copies
English Hours (1905) — Foreword, some editions — 189 copies
The Art of the Novel: Critical Prefaces (1934) — Foreword, some editions — 185 copies
First Folio: A Little Book of Folio Forewords (2008) — Contributor — 180 copies
The New York Stories of Henry James (2005) — Introduction, some editions — 155 copies
Brooklyn [2015 film] (2016) — Original book — 154 copies
Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation (2017) — Contributor — 123 copies
The Decameron Project: 29 New Stories from the Pandemic (2020) — Contributor — 112 copies
AnimalInside (2010) — Introduction, some editions — 100 copies
Midsummer Nights (1702) — Contributor — 74 copies
Granta 135: New Irish Writing (2014) — Contributor — 72 copies
The Garden Party and Other Stories (2016) — Preface — 57 copies
Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing (2004) — Contributor — 40 copies
New Irish Short Stories (2011) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Art of the Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories (2020) — Contributor — 18 copies
Jim Hodges: Love et Cetera (2009) — Contributor — 7 copies
Godenzonen : verhalen over mannen (1999) — Contributor — 6 copies
The Dublin Review 68: Autumn 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 1 copy


1001 (344) 1001 books (366) 19th century (1,145) 20th century (609) American (588) American literature (1,051) Austen (396) British (490) British literature (490) classic (2,152) classic literature (289) classics (2,419) ebook (373) England (696) English (295) English literature (525) essays (265) fiction (10,326) France (449) Henry James (315) historical fiction (736) history (425) Ireland (977) Irish (522) Irish fiction (268) Irish literature (502) Jane Austen (554) Kindle (338) literary fiction (274) literature (1,952) non-fiction (356) novel (2,042) own (401) read (956) Regency (326) romance (1,130) short stories (482) Spain (604) to-read (4,467) unread (476)

Common Knowledge



Group Read, July 2020: The Master in 1001 Books to read before you die (October 2020)


I loved every word of this book! It's been awhile since I read a book straight through but this one was very hard to put down. I didn't read the first book, Brooklyn. But, I had no problem getting caught up. It seems that there will be a third book as well and I can't wait! Ellis Lacey is Irish married to Tony Fiorelli who is from a large Italianfamily. They live on a cul-de-sac with his parents and brothers' families surrounding them. The story takes place in 1976 with Eilis now in her forties with two teenage children. When an Irishman turns up on her doorstep bringing unpleasant news, Eilish refuses to be a part of the situation and goes back to Ireland for her mother's 80th birthday. Don't miss this book, it's everything I love in a book!… (more)
Dianekeenoy | 6 other reviews | May 20, 2024 |
One of those "life is what happens while you're making other plans" -- or maybe not even making other plans -- books. I have given Tóibín 3 tries & will now give up.
Abcdarian | 294 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |
If you have not read Brooklyn, the first book in the Eilis Lacey series, do that before you embark upon this next book in the series. (It may be sufficient to watch the beautiful film version of that book.) Given the ending of this one, at least one more book is MANDATORY and lord do I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers!

Long Island picks up about 20 years after the end of Brooklyn. Eilis and Tony have moved, with the rest of Tony's family, to neighboring houses in Lindenhurst, Long Island. Tony's family's plumbing business is a success. Eilis and Tony have raised two children, Rosella and Larry. Everyone is living a placid suburban life amongst a sea of family members who are up in each other's business all the time. I am going to avoid spoilers in this review, but I need to cover something that happens in the opening pages which sets up the rest of the story. If you don't want to know, stop reading now.

Tony has done some plumbing in a local home and it appears he and the lady of the house cleared each other's pipes. Long story short, she is pregnant and her husband has said he will not raise the baby and will deliver it to Eilis and Tony's doorstep upon its birth. Eilis had put her foot down and said she is not raising another woman's child and if any family member takes in the baby she is leaving. Having reached a standoff Eilis leaves Tony to decide what he is going to to and runs off to her mother's home in Enniscorthy (County Wexford I believe) after having been absent for 20 years. Those who read Brooklyn will recall that last time Eilis ran off to Enniscorthy immediately after marrying Tony she had a romantic relationship with Jim Farrell. She gadded about town with Jim and another couple. For readers who read Brooklyn the fact that Eilis is living in Long Island with Tony is, I guess, a spoiler regarding the outcome of her relationship with Jim. So here we are, years later. Jim has never married and runs the family pub, and has never fully gotten over Eilis. Her return presents many complications in his life. I will not get into that because it is the heart of this story. Eilis needs to figure out the rest of her life, and her choices will impact many people in Ireland and America.

I don't want to say more, but the story is beautiful and enveloping. It is a quiet story, as we expect from Toibin, but not as quiet as the other books I have read by him. Those books were fully character studies, but this leans more into plot. Also, in this book we have three POV characters though Toibin usually focuses on one character. In Long Island seeing things only from Eilis's perspective would not have worked. Wed need to see things from the other perspectives to fully understand the stakes in Eilis's decisions. Also, the other main characters, Jim and Nancy (Eilis' former BFF and also half of the other couple who Jim and Eilis hung out with in the Ireland-set portions of Brooklyn) are really great characters. I loved spending time with both. They manage to be very steady but still full of surprises.

This is great storytelling. If you want to take up residence in an Irish village for a little while this is a great choice. (All of Toibin's books that I have read are great choices for this.) Already looking forward to book 3. I just hope it comes faster than this since 15 years have elapsed since Brooklyn came out.

I listened this, and Jessie Buckley's narration was great except when she was talking like the Long Island Italians, who all sounded the same regardless of age, education, or gender -- and also that is not at all how LI Italian people sound. Luckily that was a tiny fraction of the narration after the first half hour.
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Narshkite | 6 other reviews | May 17, 2024 |
This is a sequel to [Brooklyn], which I read many years ago. But it can easily be read as a stand alone. Eilish Lacey is Irish, and married to Tony Fiorello. She lives in Long Island with her husband and two teen-aged children, Rosella and Larry. The Italian family live very close to each other , and are much intertwined. One day a man knocks on Eilish's door and tells her that her husband has fathered a child with his wife. This man tells Eilish that when his wife gives birth to the baby, he will deposit " the bastard" on the family's doorstep. Understandably, Eilish is shocked. Soon afterward, she tells her husband p. 21 " There is no circumstances under which I am going to look after a baby. It is your business, not mine. "

From there, Eilish decides to return to Ireland for the first time since her marriage, ostensibly to visit her mother for her 80th birthday. When her husband asks when she will return, she gives no reply. Her children join her in Ireland to meet the family. Upon her return, Eilish meets up with old best friend, the now widowed Nancy, and her old flame, Jim. This is a riveting story of love, loss, grief and loneliness. The ending is ambiguous , and I cannot wait for the third installment.

Highly recommended.
… (more)
vancouverdeb | 6 other reviews | May 16, 2024 |


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Giovanni Bandini Translator, Übersetzer
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Marc Yankus Cover artist
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