Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, Colm Toibin's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself. 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. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America--to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland"--she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. 

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbet's Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. By far Toibin's most instantly engaging and emotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.


As someone who is mostly of Irish descent, I am always interested in stories about Irish immigrants. I heard good things about this book and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the story and felt sympathetic towards Eilis, who found herself torn between two lives - her old, familiar life in Ireland and her new life in America. The narrative was entertaining, heartbreaking, and well written. I wasn’t crazy about the ending. It felt a little unfinished to me, like there was more to be said. Overall, I would say that this novel is worth the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment