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. ...more
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"She has gone back to Brooklyn...these words would come to mean less and less to the man who heard them and would come to mean more and more to herself." (hide spoiler)]["br"]>
In Brooklyn, she could make her own world and her own way. It's simultaneously more unpredictable than Ireland and more predictable due to Tony's plans. I think she liked Tony, she cared for him, but he pushed her to move to fast. But her decision to go back to Brooklyn was her decision, not her mother's, not her sister's, and it was the first time she made a true decision to do something and live her own life.(less) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>
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This is a charming, simple story about a sweet, straightforward young woman – until the final section, when it sears the reader’s heart and soars into another realm.
The first part is a delightful picture of small-town Ireland in the 1950s. The middle two parts chart Eilis’ arrival and settling in to life and study in Brooklyn. Not much happens. It’s well done, but I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then she i ...more
Usually I read the book before seeing the movie, but in this case I saw the movie first. I screened the lovely film back in August when I wrote a cover story on Brooklyn’s star, Saoirse Ronan, for my paper’s coverage of the Toronto Film Festival. I only now caught up with the novel. I’m so glad I did. It really made me appreciate Nick Hornby’s adaptation.
In 1950s small town Ireland, Eilis Lacey has few prospects in life; ...more
It was slow going throughout most of the story with a kind of monotone dialogue, and while I did find Eilis's initial trip from Ireland to America kind of fun and interesting, her life while in America was day-after-day of repetitive boredom for the reader. (at least for me)
As for Eilis herself, at first I thought she showed strength of character and heart, but by the end of the story, well.....I admit to hoping for her demise!...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
If you have seen the movie version, a beautiful film starring Saoirse Ronan, you know the basic outline of the plot: Eilis rents a room in Brooklyn and finds a job in a shop. She becomes so homesick that she makes herself ill. She starts taking night classes, and later meets a nice boy at a dance. Eventuall ...more
As for ...more
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
Original Review, posted June 7, 2009
This gentle, quietly resonant novel showed me a new side of Colm Tóibín's writing. At first blush it seems a simple coming-of-age story of a young Irish immigrant alone in New York. But Tóibín, though he writes with affection, keeps enough distance from his characters to allow his reader to ...more
Well, you're about to enter the land of the free and the brave
Wear your coat over your arm and look as though you know where you're going
Don't look too innocent
Try not to look so frightened
The only thing they can stop you for is if they think you have TB, so don't cough whatever you do
Brooklyn changes every day
New people arrive and they could be Jewish or Irish or Polish or even coloured.
Set in the 1950's, in a time after the second world war, this relates the story of Eilis La ...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
Compared to Frank McCourt's approach, this novel took the sting out of poverty and hardship and tinted the life of a young girl leaving home in the Fifties for a foreign country, with sanguine, roseate hues. The realism of her life in transition, and her efforts to adjust ...more
That said, I don't get the enthusiasm some have for this novel. I kept expecting it to turn into more - more depth, more conflict, more despair or happiness or excitement or loneliness, or struggle. It didn't. It glanced at racial issues in the 1950's for a few pages, leading me to think we might get ...more
― Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn
Sometimes you read a book because you want to be overloaded. You want a prose whirlwind. You want maximalism and fractals and endnotes and echoes. You want to feel lost and found, buried and redeemed. This isn't that book. This is the book you read because you want serenity, peace, and ...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
“She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything. The rooms in the house on Friary Street belonged to her, she thought; when she moved in them she was...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
Кротост лъха от този роман, спокойствие, приемане на обратите на живота. Не примирение, просто осъзнаване. Да, има я стихийната носталгия по дома в един момент, има ги колебанията, но и онази сдържана устойчивост на характера, която ти шепне да продължиш и ще в ...more
This is way, way too close to home for me to be impartial. I most probably will view it to other aspects and with other "eyes" than the average reader. I'm sure of that. This is a period when I was at the urban neighborhood "end" myself, although not in Brooklyn. And I was probably about ten years younger than Eilis during this period. Also not in rooming houses, but in familial associations ...more