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Brooklyn

by Colm Tóibín

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4,3072601,879 (3.69)487
Eilis Lacey is unable to find a job in Ireland in the years following World War II. An Irish priest from Brooklyn, New York offers to sponser her to live an work in America, so she decides she must go leaving her mother and sister behind. She adapts to her new life by working in a department store and the pain of parting has subsided until she receives devastating news from home that threatens the promise of her future.… (more)
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» See also 487 mentions

English (246)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
This novel kept me involved enough to finish it in one sitting, even though the central character stayed at a bit of a distance. Still, it's a compelling story of another time and other places, and of the dilemmas that have always faced immigrants to this country.

"Brooklyn" tells the story of a young Irishwoman from a small provincial town who emigrates to the U.S. in the early 1950's, returns to Ireland a few years later, and must decide where to make her home. Eilis, the heroine, is an interesting character; docile and somewhat passive. She doesn't decide to go to the States; rather, her older sister and a helpful priest decide for her. She herself would rather stay at home, but doesn't see any sort of protest as an option. When she gets to the States, she is miserable at first, but gradually adapts and makes a life for herself. Then, back in Ireland, her sister dies, and Eilis decides that she must go back to visit her mother. What happens then I won't say, but it is both interesting and somewhat exasperating. Exasperating, because the heroine remains so reactive to others. Despite the exasperation, the story is well worth reading. I saw the movie before reading the book, and it seems to me that it oversimplified Eilis's character and choices. ( )
  annbury | Jul 28, 2020 |
A very quiet but engaging book about a young woman from Ireland who moves to Brooklyn to find work -- AND HERSELF! I really enjoyed reading along as she gained confidence and recognized her own intelligence and sense of humor, too. She has smart and surprisingly pithy thoughts about the people around her. Recommended! ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
[Grumpy reader alert - Sorry this is so negative! I'm feeling really PMS'ed today and that may have something to do with it.]

Summary: A boring story about a dull character that reads like an encyclopedia. I felt like the author explored nothing interesting and actually concentrated on the most boring of details, including urinating in buckets. I kept waiting for a villain, for a juicy secret about the priest, for a revelation about her work visa being for deviant sexual slavery... and got nothing.

Three words to sum up this novel: vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. ( )
1 vote gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
Ended too soon. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Audio edition. The only difficulty I had with the book was keeping in mind that it is 1952 and not 40 years earlier. Immigrants and immigrant communities are strong and seem to call for an earlier period. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 246 (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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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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