Brooklyn

Brooklyn

A Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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In the early 1950s, Eilis Lacey leaves her widowed mother and charismatic sister behind in Ireland and heads for Brooklyn, where she finds a sort of happiness, but tragic news summons her back to Ireland, and she finds herself facing an impossible decision.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2009.
ISBN: 9780771085369
0771085362
Characteristics: 262 p.

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diannehildebrand
Sep 07, 2017

The writing in this book feels so awkward at times that I had to convince myself that that was the only way Toibin could convince us of the awkwardness of the main character. Her indecision sometimes leaves the plot floundering and when she does make decisions (or the plot takes a turn) it seems to come out of nowhere. In fact the author convinced me that the main character's decisions are hardly thought through at all - that she lives in a nebulous space that doesn't include a lot of reflection or self-awareness. Nevertheless a lovely book with a great portrait of a young Irish immigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950s. A classic dilemma builds, especially towards the end, about how thoroughly our roots are entwined in who we are, how we feel about our childhood home, and what happens when you try new things.

HMWLibrary2017 Jul 14, 2017

A quiet, lovely book about that momentous period of your early twenties. Nothing stands out though.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Jul 30, 2016

At first I really didn’t like how incredibly passive Eilis was. She moved to America because her mother, sister, and Priest told her to, not because she wanted to. In America she still just went along with what those around her wanted, but that’s partially what makes the book interesting as the story progresses and the stakes become higher. This is a rich story of an Irish immigrant who moves to America in the 1950’s, and ultimately has to figure out what she wants.

d
djcowden
Jul 16, 2016

did enjoy this book and can't wait to see the movie

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 05, 2016

Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn is simple storytelling at its best. This is a novel which doesn't accomplish much. It doesn't woo or provoke; it doesn't spend long developing characters or wallowing in language. It's a plot-driven story that really focuses on the story.

This is a novel that doesn't rely on bells and whistles. It doesn't need the added noise. Just the simple voice of an author telling a story that is beautiful and captivating.

g
gusmcrae
May 23, 2016

Every once in awhile I have to step away from the thrillers and suspense novels and delve into something that's a bit more literary. I certainly got that in Colm Toibin's "Brooklyn." This is a relatively quiet novel. A lot happens, and yet it really isn't anything earth shattering. The story follows the rather unassuming life of Eilis Lacy, a young Irish immigrant to (you guessed it) Brooklyn in the 1950s. I mostly enjoyed Eilis. She's an introvert, with a nice sense of humor. She could certainly be frustrating--she is probably the most passive character I've ever come across in a book. And that lead to moments when I found myself wondering what was wrong with her that she couldn't make up her mind???!!!

With that said, I went into this book a bit worried that I'd be bored. And I wasn't. It drew me in each time I picked it up and it gave me a few good laughs along the way. I also think it was an interesting read for me, a woman of 2016. Eilis was certainly a woman of her time and perhaps that's why she was so frustrating to me. This book is a great illustration of how things are different for women today.

All-in-all, it was a good, introspective read.

k
Kathey
Apr 20, 2016

I enjoyed everything except the ending. It seemed rushed to me. Truthfully, I preferred the ending presented in the movie version in which Eilis simply seemed to be a stronger, more decisive, mature adult.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Apr 18, 2016

Brooklyn is a novel by Colm Tóibín. The story follows a young Irish woman named Eilis Lacey as she moves to Brooklyn, New York in pursuit of a better life. At an Irish dance in Brooklyn, Eilis meets a young Italian man named Tony; the two quickly fall in love. When tragedy strikes, Eilis is forced to choose between Ireland, where her family lives, or Brooklyn, where she has found a better life. The novel was made into a film, which was nominated for 3 Academy Awards. I watched the movie first, oblivious to the fact that it started as a novel. I then promptly read the novel and was very disappointed that I didn’t read the book first as the book captured details in a way the movie couldn’t. For example, the book helped me better understand the lives of Eilis’ roommates. Overall, this novel is very captivating and Colm Toibin has exceptionally written this book in a way that leaves readers wanting more. This book is a must read for all ages.
- @BookLover of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

ChristchurchLib Mar 28, 2016

Wanting more opportunities than 1950s Ireland can offer, Enniscorthy native and aspiring bookkeeper Eilis Lacey leaves her mother and sister to start a new life in Brooklyn, where she attends school and finds work -- as well as romance. But when devastating news reaches her from home, Eilis must return to Enniscorthy and settle family affairs. Will she have to sacrifice her new life (and love) in America to resume the existence she's left behind? Recently made into an acclaimed film starring Saoirse Ronan, this novel received praise from The New York Times for showing "how place can assert itself, enfolding the visitor, staking its claim."

a
alibraryguy
Mar 14, 2016

After all the accolades this novel has received, I was surprised by how dull it was. Toibin’s deliberately sparse, unadorned prose, for which he receives praise, comes across as flat and unimaginative. At times, the novel reads like a list of the events in the life of the milquetoast Eilis Lacey, rather than anything nearing a poignant portrayal of a young woman’s life. Eilis’ constant second-guessing of what she said, did or thought grew increasingly ridiculous. As she vacillated her way through most of her life decisions, even the choice she makes at the very end of the novel was forced upon her by the meddlesome Mrs. Kelly. Perhaps this was Toibin’s intention, for surely she would have otherwise succumbed to her mother’s attempted orchestration of her future. As for the glowing reviews, I’d say it’s a case of the emperor’s new clothes.

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universalPuppy Sep 07, 2012

Some people are nice and if you talk to them properly, they can be even nicer.

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