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Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín


by Colm Tóibín

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8132491,922 (3.68)469
  1. 82
    'Tis: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (bergs47)
  2. 50
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (kiwiflowa)
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    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Othemts)
  4. 10
    The Empty Family: Stories by Colm Tóibín (Christy.Riege)
  5. 10
    Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather (pacocillero)
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    Someone by Alice McDermott (Ciruelo)
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    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.
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    Girl in Translation: A Novel 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 469 mentions

English (236)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (249)
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
I would have given this three stars but I absolutely hated the ending. It just stopped; like the author didn't know what to do with it so he just quit writing. I wanted to see the movie but now I'm afraid it will end just as abruptly. I thought for sure she was going to leave Ireland and Jim to go back to Brooklyn and then read the letters she hadn't yet opened from Tony to find out that he found out about her cheating on him and he wanted to dissolve their relationship and she would be alone. It seems like the whole trip back to Ireland was completely unnecessary. It added nothing to the narrative. ( )
  Catsysta | Aug 5, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this novel about Eilis, who is pretty much pushed into emigrating to the US by her older sister, and who then just gets on with settling into her new life. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Aug 1, 2018 |
There were parts of this book that pulled me in. I can imagine the homesickness one would experience coming from the country of your birth and finding yourself in another country. The trip to America on the seas was harrowing; her maturation and learning to navigate her new situation was interesting at times; her courtship was sweet.

The second half, for me, was a deterioration. I had imagined her as a moral and upstanding person and I found she lacked any character at all. I did not excuse her behavior or feel any sympathy for her. I felt Tony had been deceived and the way she reached her final decision, and her reflection that she would smile at this later, was a bit disgusting to me. There was someone who deserved better, and it wasn’t Eilis. Perhaps it was Rose, who made such sacrifices so that Eilis could have opportunities and a life. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (May 2012):
- I see all the nominations and awards this book garnered and wonder what I missed. On one hand, this is a smoothly told, touching story of a young woman in small town Ireland in the 1950s, who falls into a family-arranged migration to Brooklyn, seeking steady wages and a brighter future... Eilis Lacey, our protagonist, faces enough metamorphic hurdles and interacts with enough interesting characters to keep the pages flipping. On the other hand, this was, for me, a bit too vanilla. My top criticism is that I felt no emotional connection here - Eilis's personality is muted, so that her character as a whole is flat. I just felt a distance from the story that is hard to qualify, maybe because in a subtle way I found it engaging.
- I like the premise of Toibin's story - that of the youngest child pushed into the unpredictable currents of a new world, an act of sacrificial love by the woman's family. Particular scenes I liked were her turbulent, lower class passage to New York, and some of the interplay between Eilis and her boardinghouse mates. Love, or something like it, enters the picture as you might expect, and she must make a life-defining decision upon hearing of tragedy back home in Enniscorthy. Nicely told. I'll read the author again with the hope of more sparkle.. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jun 13, 2018 |
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. ( )
4 vote GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (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.

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