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Brooklyn

by Colm Tóibín

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4,4082651,946 (3.69)495
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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Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
“She got out of the car, steadying herself against the wind.” — Colm Toibin, the last line in “Brooklyn”

In the classroom and in the workplace, Eilis Lacey shines with confidence and competence. Only in her personal life is she overcome with uncertainty and easily led by others. Many readers will identify with the central character in Colm Toibin's fine 2009 novel “Brooklyn,” the basis for an equally fine movie.

Jobs are scare in the Irish village where she lives in the 1950s. Her brothers have already gone to Liverpool to work. Eilis works only on Sundays in a small shop. Even so she loves her village and is surprised and disappointed when her mother and older sister conspire with an Irish priest in Brooklyn to find her a job in America.

She crosses the ocean alone and afraid. In Brooklyn the priest has found her a room in a boarding house for young working women and a job as a clerk in a department store. She begins attending college classes in accounting, then meets Tony, a young Italian plumber who falls instantly in love with her. Her own affections ignite more slowly, and meanwhile she feels manipulated by Tony, by her landlady, by the priest and by her employers. These are good people who think highly of her, yet still she feels unable to express her own feelings or her own wishes.

The death of her sister takes her home again, although not before Tony insists they marry secretly. He fears, correctly as it turns out, that Eilis might not want to return to Brooklyn. Back home her mother conspires again, this time to keep her home to fill the hole left by her sister. Her reluctance to admit she is married leads to complications with a young man.

Will Eilis finally act on her own for herself, or will she be continue to be led yet by circumstances and by the people in her life? Toibin keeps us guessing. His novel allows readers to know Eilis better that anyone else knows her, perhaps even better than she knows herself. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jan 28, 2021 |
Might make a good indie film. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
It looks like I'll finish reading this novel within 24 hours of starting it--I love such books, that are so compelling and fluent I live in them until the end. ( )
  Carrie_Etter | Nov 28, 2020 |
Sweet easy to read story ( )
  SBG1962 | Aug 28, 2020 |
A poignant novel about a young Irish girl who leaves Ireland for Brooklyn with the help of her sister, her mother, and the local parish priest. She was to be the shining star of her family. She does quite well in Brooklyn, earns a college degree and even marries (secretly) and then suddenly is called back to Ireland upon her sister's death. The dilemma then becomes: stay in Ireland where she is very comfortable and can care for her mother or return to Brooklyn. A great period piece. 257 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Aug 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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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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