Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and...more
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by Colm Tóibín
Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is far from home - and homesick. And just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma - a devastating choice between duty and one great love. [close]
I've said it elsewhere on this site, but it bears repeating. Colm Toibin is a genius. This is a man who has, on various occasions brought me inside the heads of:
• a gay man in Ireland suffering from AIDS and the women in his family ("The Blackwater Lightship")
• a compromised Argentine English teacher exploring his sexuality in the time of the fall of the military junta (“The Story of the nigh...more
Eilis is a wonderful protagonist, whose inner conflicts are shown through her experiences. At the same time, Toibin takes us into her head and lets us see how she works through major decision points. And it's t...more
"Brooklyn" tells the story of Eilis Lacey, an Irish girl from a small village who emigrates to the U.S. with hopes of bettering her life and career with opportunities afforded in the new world. The young emigre's story is told with such straightforwardness and simplicity that, on the surface, it seems like a mora...more
I expected far more and only in minute passage did I find it.
Mr. Toibin's BROOKLYN felt rushed, a bit glossed over, too formulaic for me to honestly believe the character of Eilis Lacey (and the name bothered me as much as her lack of substance).
There were small moments of brilliance: the terse passages of what was not said, which was the most telling, yet those glimmers were rare.
I could not identify in the least with Eilis, she was so one-dimensional, barely the...more
I've also read The Heather Blazing and The Master, and in each Tóibín employs a laconic method of storytelling to explore the weaknesses that occlude people's vision. In The Master, Tóibín's achievement was the careful revealing of the sorrow of a repressed Henry...more
Brooklyn is a quiet, conventional immigrant's tale with the focus on an Irish girl named Eilis Lacey who is fostered in her journey to America by a kindly activist priest, Father Flood, and finds work in a women's shop, then a path to advancement as a bookkeeper through a Brooklyn College night school, and then an Italian-American, Tony, with whom she doubtfully falls in love and agrees to marry before she returns to Ireland to be with her mother for a month after receiving the shocking news tha...more
He shows, rather than tells, the bewilderment and liberation that are part of a willing immigrant's experience;...more
I think what will determine your experience of this book is whether or not you can relate in any way to Eilis, the main character. I'm a completely different person(and I do mean completely) than I was when I was her age. As I was reading, I cast my mind back to the time I was her age and I knew I probably would have responded much the same if I had been thrown into similar...more
The author portrays a completely realistic 1950s Brooklyn, NY in all its excitement and lost-soul loneliness -- the heroine is young, nearly totally alone in her new brave life, a life foist...more
I'm not one who needs perf...more
Brooklyn is flat and dull. This, incidentally, has little to do with Toibin's famously economical prose style - which I love. The principal problem is with characterisation. The characters are cardboard cut-out, lacking in complexity, unrealised and utterly unconvincing. The central character is so passive that it is scarcely believable and she simply can not sustain my...more
Eilis, a young woman living in a small Irish community with limited opportunities in the 1950s, reluctantly agrees to emigrate to the US when her sister and the local priest find a job there for her. She has difficulty settling in to her job at a department store and he...more
(Although I went to listen to John Banville talking the year ‘The Untouchables’ came out – also in the heart of a Melbourne winter, wi...more
"Colm Toibin was born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in 1955. He studied at University College Dublin and lived in Barcelona between 1975 and 1978. Out of his experience in Barcelona be produced two books, the novel ‘The South’ (shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and winner of the Irish Times/ Aer Lingus First Fiction...more