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Brooklyn: A Novel
Brooklyn: A Novel
Brooklyn: A Novel
Ebook329 pages5 hours

Brooklyn: A Novel

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

Colm Tóibín’s New York Times bestselling novel—also an acclaimed film starring Saoirse Ronan and Jim Broadbent nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture—is “a moving, deeply satisfying read” (Entertainment Weekly) about a young Irish immigrant in Brooklyn in the early 1950s.

“One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), 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, 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, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

Author “Colm Tóibín…is his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power” (Los Angeles Times). “Written with mesmerizing power and skill” (The Boston Globe), Brooklyn is a “triumph…One of those magically quiet novels that sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations” (USA TODAY).
Release dateMay 5, 2009
Brooklyn: A Novel

Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in 1955. He is the author of ten novels, including The Master, Brooklyn and The Magician, and two collections of stories. He has been shortlisted three times for the Booker Prize and has won the Costa Novel of the Year and the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and Chancellor of Liverpool University. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In 2021, he was awarded the David Cohen Prize. He lives in Dublin.

Reviews for Brooklyn

Rating: 3.1632762312633833 out of 5 stars

1,868 ratings172 reviews

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  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I enjoyed the story but did not like the ending what so ever. It felt too rushed and did not give me the closure that I was looking for.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    A quiet but effective description of how love often slips into and out of a young woman's life. Beautiful, but not terribly romantic.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    It started out interesting enough, but I found myself getting more and more aggravated with the main character. She was just letting poeple make decisions for her and seemed to not be taking any responsibility for her own life. The whole story felt rushed. There were so many interesting characters that could have been explored and expanded on but they just came and went with no additional information about them.

    I was very disappointed in the ending too. I thought I had missed something, but no it just ends. I love stories about Ireland and Irish immigrants but this was very disppointing.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    A fast read, and I did find myself wanting to know how Eilis' story would turn out. But the book fell short for me in a couple ways. First, the style, though refreshingly direct, was nearly all "telling." She thought, she wondered, she decided, she felt and felt and felt. Yes, it's a legitimate style, but left me sleepy. Second, so many plot threads turned out to be rabbit trails; I thought there would be more to the story. I did enjoy this enough to try another of Toibin's books.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    The story had me hooked from the beginning. I felt the book started off great and liked the characters and how the story was progressing. The biggest flaw, and what spoiled this book for me was the awkward intimacy and romance that Colm Toibin tried to pass off as endearing. The book did not redeem itself from the awkwardness of the romance scenes, which was very disappointing because the book held so much promise at the start of the book.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Doors opened and closed, sunlight and shade, yesterdays and tomorrows; these are all motifs that come to mind as I consider the beauty of Colm Toibin's poignant novel, Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the tomorrow when the novel begins and almost becomes the yesterday that is forgotten as Toibin shares the story of Eilis Lacey in his own unsensational way. From the start the importance of her family permeates the book as seen in the simple opening sentence: "Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work." (p 3)Her sister, Rose, along with her mother are important in Eilis's young life as she experiences the opening and closing of doors. The way Eilis who appears almost stoic at times, yet is full of emotional turmoil inside, handles the major changes in her life is both touching and endearing. I often tell a close friend that I do not love (or hate) a character in a book, but I grew to love Eilis as her character matured. For this is also an Irish-American bildungsroman with Eilis, encouraged by her sister, growing and learning and maturing into a woman who must face some difficult decisions.Colm Toibin tells this story through the accumulation of small moments that gradually cohere to form a novel that deals with profound questions of love and life and death. He is at his best when he describes how difficult it is for Eilis to communicate her innermost desires with those closest to her. His abililty to describe the impact of both memories on the moment and the being of the other resonated with my own experience. Meditating on her family that she left in Ireland she muses: "they would never know her now. Maybe, she thought, they had never known her, any of them" (p 73)The otherness of Eilis that permeates the novel arises not only from the isolation of an Irish girl in Brooklyn, but also from the tensions that develop as she tries to develop her own identity as a woman and face the choices she must make as one. It is in these choices, the lyrical beauty of Toibin's prose, and the impression that you are left with - a feeling that you have shared a part of the life of this young woman from Ireland - that make this a meaningful novel.

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Brooklyn - Colm Toibin

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