A Novel

Book - 2009 | 1st Scribner hardcover ed
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In Ireland in the early 1950s, Eilis Lacey is one of many who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving behind her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation. Slowly, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life -- and finally, she begins to realize that she has found a sort of happiness. As she falls in love, news comes from home that forces her back to Enniscorthy -- not to the constrictions of her old life, but to new possibilities which conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn. In Eilis Lacey, Colm Toíbiń has created one of fiction's most memorable heroines, and captured, to stunning effect, the immigrant experience in Brooklyn in the 1950s, where young, eager hearts try to navigate the struggles of modern life.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION TOI
Characteristics: 262 p. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9781439138311


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Mar 31, 2020

DGG: I’m so sorry I saw the movie first! Would have been better to do it the other way ’round as the book — about a young Irish girl who escapes to Brooklyn — is so much richer than the film. Toibin has a very distinct way of writing and superb character development skills.

liljables Jul 23, 2018

I absolutely loved the film adaptation of Brooklyn, so much so that I was nervous to read the book. My trepidation was warranted, unfortunately - while Toibin's writing was beautiful, the book didn't evoke the same melancholy that endeared me to the movie. I don't say this very often, but if you have to choose one, I'd pass on the book and watch the film!

bibliosara Jan 02, 2018

Brooklyn, as my first Colm Toibin book, set the standard high. I had already watched the movie (which I loved) and was eager to read the book it was based off of.
Toibin has a natural gift for storytelling. This novel was stirring, emotional, and poetic. Like the movie, the story progresses at a steady pace. This is not an action novel, but it is a novel that will sweep you along on a journey you won't soon forget. The pace suits the characters, the time, and the plot. Toibin's style is magical.
As Eilis' personal as well as physical journey progress, you find yourself rooting for an unusual heroine. Eilis is a sweet and endearing young woman with a powerful story and admirable character. Eilis' struggle was not unusual, and by the end of the book you not only feel satisfied (and maybe a little happy-weepy) but also educated. Toibin interweaves fact with fiction, making this historical fiction at its best.

Sep 07, 2017

The writing in this book feels so awkward at times that I had to convince myself that that was the only way Toibin could convince us of the awkwardness of the main character. Her indecision sometimes leaves the plot floundering and when she does make decisions (or the plot takes a turn) it seems to come out of nowhere. In fact the author convinced me that the main character's decisions are hardly thought through at all - that she lives in a nebulous space that doesn't include a lot of reflection or self-awareness. Nevertheless a lovely book with a great portrait of a young Irish immigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950s. A classic dilemma builds, especially towards the end, about how thoroughly our roots are entwined in who we are, how we feel about our childhood home, and what happens when you try new things.

HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

A quiet, lovely book about that momentous period of your early twenties. Nothing stands out though.

Aug 27, 2016

A cut above the usual "Irish" books. determined, imaginative Irish girl succeeds to reinvent her life. Good read.

Aug 27, 2016

This probably made a good 'chick' flick. I found the book long-winded, too many lengthy descriptions, and - sorry - boring. Probably best suited for adolescent girls. Obviously not my 'cup of tea'.

Jul 30, 2016

At first I really didn’t like how incredibly passive Eilis was. She moved to America because her mother, sister, and Priest told her to, not because she wanted to. In America she still just went along with what those around her wanted, but that’s partially what makes the book interesting as the story progresses and the stakes become higher. This is a rich story of an Irish immigrant who moves to America in the 1950’s, and ultimately has to figure out what she wants.

Jul 16, 2016

did enjoy this book and can't wait to see the movie

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn is simple storytelling at its best. This is a novel which doesn't accomplish much. It doesn't woo or provoke; it doesn't spend long developing characters or wallowing in language. It's a plot-driven story that really focuses on the story.

This is a novel that doesn't rely on bells and whistles. It doesn't need the added noise. Just the simple voice of an author telling a story that is beautiful and captivating.

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universalPuppy Sep 07, 2012

Some people are nice and if you talk to them properly, they can be even nicer.


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