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Brooklyn

by
3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  32,211 Ratings  ·  4,624 Reviews
In 1952 kan een jonge vrouw in Ierland geen werk vinden en emigreert, net als veel andere jonge Ieren in die tijd, naar Amerika, waar een baan voor haar is geregeld bij een warenhuis.
316 pages
Published November 2010 by Uitgeverij De Geus (first published 2009)
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Blair but part of staying in Ireland...it was kind of like she took over Rose's life. She was basically being offered Rose's job, her mother was expecting…morebut part of staying in Ireland...it was kind of like she took over Rose's life. She was basically being offered Rose's job, her mother was expecting her to take over Rose's role as her caretaker....would she really be living her life in Ireland or be a substitute for Rose's? I think she grew to love Jim, and all that he represented that she would have had in Ireland - family, stability. But it was a small town. She'd been in a big city. Eillis had plans and goals and an education that would go to waste. I think she might have stayed had it not been for Mrs. Kelly, but I also think that she would have recognized more and more she was not living her life, but one intended for Rose. It seems to me that the reason Rose never had a boyfriend was that she pushed everyone away due to her heart condition.

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)
Patrick Yes, a twelve-year-old could read this. When he or she gets to the benign sexual scenes, talk to him or her about it. It's hardly something that…moreYes, a twelve-year-old could read this. When he or she gets to the benign sexual scenes, talk to him or her about it. It's hardly something that should be hidden or banned.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Angela
Jan 03, 2010 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
It's hard to read anything about books without hearing gushing praise for Brooklyn, so I settled in for a brilliant work about immigration and America and New York and alienation and crushing hard work and etc. Brooklyn, though, is no The Jungle or Call It Sleep. Set partially in 1950-ish Ireland and partly in Brooklyn, the novel follows spineless and benign Eilis through her voyage to the United States (arranged by her sister and a kind priest), where she receives a job, is enrolled some classe ...more
Cecily
description
Image source (work by Anthony Gormley):
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EoNMfeXg4L0...

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
Steve
Dec 29, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooklyn starts out as a nice little slice of life in Ireland in the early 50’s. Then Eilis, the younger of two sisters living at home with their mother, has a whole new life arranged for her in New York. It took rather a stiff upper lip for a young woman to cross the stormy seas and settle in a foreign land where the only person she knew was the priest who arranged the whole thing. Sea sickness gave way to homesickness, but her strength of character prevailed. The story then settled into how sh ...more
Will Byrnes
Nov 11, 2015 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brooklyn
Brooklyn is a wonderful character portrait and captures as well the struggle of an Irish immigrant to the US in the post war world. Eilis Lacy is a twenty-something in a small Irish town, frustrated at the sclerotic nature of her environment. Her life lies ahead of her in a single, entirely predictable line and she feels suffocated. She wants to study, to learn accountancy, or at least bookkeeping, so she can rise a little above her lowly economic situation. Seizing an unexpected opportunity she ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Mar 11, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish author
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Will Byrnes
Quick and easy read. A coming of age story about an Irish working-class girl who immigrates all alone to Brooklyn. Simple sums it up. The protagonist, the prose, the setting, the story, right down to the 50’s era, a simpler time. Not to be confused with easy, never that. Thought Colm’s depiction of Eilis Lacey’s feelings of alienation "the rest of her life would be a struggle with the unfamiliar" & battle with depression "all of the colour had been washed out of her world" well done.
As for
...more
Sweetman Sweetman
Jun 01, 2010 Sweetman Sweetman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no, I don't think I can
Recommended to Sweetman by: I read it because I loved "The Master" so completely
Well...it was a quick read...
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
Carol
2.5 Stars I'm sorry to say BROOKLYN was a disappointing read for me.

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
Peggy L
Jan 17, 2011 Peggy L rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I vacilated between sympathizing with the main character and wondering at her thought processes, in the end, I was disappointed in her behavior, choices and the ending of this book.
Julie
Nov 14, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: The Seattle Times
Thinking again about this lovely book, nearly seven years after I first read it, how it has stayed with me, how Tóibín has moved and influenced me as a reader and a writer.

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
David
Aug 05, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
OK, Man Booker award people, listen up! If this book doesn't win this year, you are dead to me, you hear?

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
Anne (Anneshka)
3.5/5 stars

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
Margitte
It was not the most compelling or riveting book I have ever read, yet the gentle tone surrounding the story of an Irish girl settling all alone in America, with just a priest as her only contact with home, was deeply touching.

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
Jennifer (aka EM)
Oct 18, 2011 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story, a careful, slow build of character. Impeccable writing - spare, intense, precise. Deceptively simple at the sentence level; yet so perfectly matched to the character Toibin is creating and the story he is telling. This writing is stunning in its simplicity and its power.

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
Jeff
Dec 03, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of "Brooklyn" is not new; however, it"feels" new in Colm Toibin's capable, talented hands. I found the novel highly engaging, beautifully written, and absolutely delightful.

"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
Gerard M.
Apr 12, 2012 Gerard M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book delights at many levels. For one who grew up in the south east of Ireland in the 1950-60s it transported me back to many familiar sights, sounds, smells and moments – with uncanny accuracy. The delectation is in the detail and Colm Tóibín, a native of Enniscorthy where the book is partly set, has his details spot on. Mrs Kelly’s shop, the Sunday night dance, early Mass, the Courtown Hotel, Curracloe and Ballyconnigar strand all evoke vivid memories. The petty snobbery, importance of ap ...more
Lucy Canessa
Dec 18, 2009 Lucy Canessa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hugely dissapointed in this book. Amazon.com reviewer "Flibertigibbit" says it best, so I am just going to quote her here:

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
Duane
For anyone that's ever had to move away from home, especially to another country, you know how traumatic that can be. That's what 21 year old Eilis Lacey had to do in 1951, when she left her home in Enniscorthy Ireland, to come to Brooklyn New York. That's the premise of the story, Eilis struggle to adapt, the homesickness she has for family and country, and the heartbreaking choices that fate forces her to make. Colm Toibin's writing is beautiful, and he tells this story in a subdued and unders ...more
Violet wells
Zoe Heller said Brooklyn was the most compelling and moving portrait of a young woman she has read in a long time and though I’d give that accolade to the narrator of A Girl is a Half Formed Thing there is much that’s moving and compelling in this novel. In fact it’s hard to fault except perhaps to say that it’s composed on a small canvas and so lacks the breadth of a truly thrilling and first rate novel. Basically it’s a concise and artful study of the sensibility of a young girl who suddenly f ...more
Barbara
Nov 08, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: immigration
The subjects of immigration and maturation have been dealt with in a most compelling manner in this gentle, flowing novel by Colm Toibin. Eilis Lacey, in her late teens, has crossed the ocean alone from her small, close knit town in Ireland to a totally foreign world in Brooklyn. Toibin has deftly woven each experience in a realistic, sometimes heart rending manner. The descriptions of Eilis's homesickness are some of the most tender yet raw, sweet yet sad, completely evocative pages that I have ...more
Alanna
Sep 28, 2012 Alanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting read. Toibin's style of writing is like nothing I've ever read before. In some ways it seems so simple, and then there'd be passages where he described his protagonist's feelings, and it was like he understood her so well it would take my breath away. And although it's a fairly simple story that often feels like it's unfolding with or without anyone deciding how things should happen (especially at the beginning, when it is decided that Eilis should go to America), I still had ...more
David Carr
Feb 12, 2013 David Carr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best, nyc
Brooklyn inspires me to think about the history of making choices in personal lives. At midcentury, when this book is set, the limits of free will were bounded by faith and moral judgment, by biology, guilt, and suffocating beliefs. Sin appeared in hard common parlance, yet forgiveness was more obscure. Perhaps ignorance ought to be cited as well, but it was part of the accusatory landscape, a given element of the time, like cigarettes and alcohol. People made poor choices simply to resolve ambi ...more
Robert
Apr 01, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


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
Shelah
Oct 01, 2009 Shelah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eilis Lacey lets things happen to her. Living with her mother and sister in Ireland in the early 1950s, she takes a job she knows she's going to hate because someone offers it to her. When a priest offers to sponsor her and find her a job in Brooklyn, she leaves her home and travels to America, where she lives where he tells her to live, takes the job he finds for her, and enrolls in the night-classes he thinks will be suitable. She goes to a dance because her landlady asked her to, and meets a ...more
Trevor
Feb 05, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Lorena and I went to see Colm in the middle of last year when he came to Melbourne. You’d think people from Ireland would make a point of coming over here at a time more likely to have nice weather, but I guess their national pride stops that sort of thing. “For God sake, you call this a winter, do you? I’ve lived through summers in Ireland that blah, blah, blah.”

(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
Diane S ⛄
2.5 I expected much more from this story than what I received. Don't get me wrong, it was okay, but that is all it was. A rather bland story about an Irish girl who comes to New York under the sponsorship of the local Irish priest, stays in a rooming house with other women, goes to dances, meets a boy,yada yada yada. There is no depth, Eilis is a bit of a pushover, some of the characters were okay but none of them had any real strength to them. They come, they go, they are in and then out. Brief ...more
Dana
Apr 08, 2012 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had such high hopes for this book. I was reading it while undertaking a massive change in my life, moving to a totally unfamiliar place with nothing but what I could carry. I was going to another country with nobody I knew and none of the comforts that I had always known. It started out as a comfort to be reading about someone who was doing the same thing. The only problem is that I never felt that there was a point to the story. I know that not every story is written to send a message, but I ...more
Seán
Mar 25, 2010 Seán rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tóibín's greatest talent is in offering up deceptively simple tales that, on first blush, seem to be engaging yet not terribly portentous stories, but then open up wide when you realize the hidden dynamism of Colm's self-denying heroes.

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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Jul 01, 2009 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanette by: Julie
Marvelously simple, yet deceptively complex. The writing is remarkable for its descriptive clarity. Not one word is wasted.

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
Pavle
Jan 30, 2016 Pavle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: takozvano-ostalo
Jako čitljiva knjižica koja se najbolje da opisati kao portret jedne mlade devojke i njene dve ličnosti: jedne Irkinje, druge novopečene Amerikanke. Na trenutke slatka, a uvek humana priča i sjajan, pozitivno dvosmislen kraj.

4
Teresa
Jun 15, 2009 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The young woman in this story could've been many young women, but in Toibin's talented hands is herself, a unique person. Toibin, once again, 'gets' it -- that most of anyone's life is interior, that life is filled with things that can't be articulated to even those you are the closest to. At the same time, the interaction of his wonderfully formed characters adds to making this beautifully expressed book one that I didn't want to end.
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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 Award) and ‘Homage to Barcelona’, both published in 1990. When he retur ...more
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“Some people are nice and if you talk to them properly, they can be even nicer." -Rose” 15 likes
“She has gone back to Brooklyn,' her mother would say. And, as the train rolled past Macmire Bridge on its way towards Wexford, Eilis imagined the years already when 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. She almost smiled at the thought of it, then closed her eyes and tried to imagine nothing more.” 12 likes
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