Barbara's Reviews > Brooklyn

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
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's review
Nov 08, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: immigration
Read in March, 2011

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 read for some time. Each new place or event that she encounters is vividly portrayed.

Toibin has clearly developed his characters. One could almost hear the voices of Eilis's friends and family in her hometown in Ireland. It was often delightful to view the environment both there and in Brooklyn through her eyes. Yet the rush and bustle and crowding of the populace in Brooklyn were manifestly overwhelming to her and in sharp contrast to her prior life.

The narrative held a special appeal for me because of my role in tutoring immigrants in English. Toibin has effectively dealt with the problems which I view with my students in their attempts to fit into a new, stange society. The difficulties of learning new customs and behaviors, while adhering to memories of familiar things are often stumbling blocks.

I look forward to reading more by this perceptive author.

ADDENDUM:Today I viewed the film adaptation of this novel, presented by my cinema club which prescreens a series of movies for its subscribers. The film was excellent and quite compelling, but lacked many of the nuances that only Toibin could impart. I do recommend it for all.
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by K.D. (new)

K.D. Absolutely Looks like my type of book, B. Thanks!

Barbara Thank you, KD!

Cynthia Excellent review. Makes me want to go out and get this book immediately.

Teresa Cynthia wrote: "Excellent review. Makes me want to go out and get this book immediately."

I don't know why I thought you had read this already, C. Yes, read it as soon as you can!

Cynthia I keep meaning to read it.....

message 6: by Teresa (last edited Mar 27, 2011 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa Cynthia wrote: "I keep meaning to read it....."

I understand. No pressure! :)

Barbara Thanks, everybody for your "likes"!

C, I thought you had read it too. I think you would like it. Of course, no pressure from me also!!

Debby I have this and other books by him on my TBR shelf for a while. I'm very intrigued by your description of his writing style and character development. I'll be reading this book very soon!

message 9: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I do plan to read it as one of my Irish books. I think I won't add it to my huge list quite yet!!!

Barbara Despite its depth, I found it to be a quick read.

message 11: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue that's good to know. thanks. Oops--I see I have added it. I went through my list last night and cut out some books but when I finished the list was only about 10 books shorter--not great.

Barbara I've noticed also that as soon as I pare down the list, I immediately add new ones!

message 13: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I'm going to try to be a little harder as far as adding on --we'll see how that goes!!

Maria Yes, I enjoyed this very much.

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