Brooklyn by Colm Toibin: a review

BrooklynTitle: Brooklyn

Author:  Colm Toibin

Published:  2009

Publisher:  Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Date Read:  1 May 2016

Format:  Softcover

Source:  borrowed from Pulaski County Public Library

Genre:  Literary Fiction

My Rating: 4 (worthy of a reread)

GoodReads Rating:  3.62

Awards:  Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2009); International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee (2011); Costa Book Award for Novel (2009); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (200()

Other Books by Author:  The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night, The Blackwater Lightship, The Master, Mothers and Sons, The Empty Family: Stories, The Testament of Mary, Nora Webster

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First 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.

Review:  The prose that fills this 262-page novel is nothing but sheer beauty and proves that Toibin is a master of the written word.  This is my first experience with a Toibin novel but it serves as a a catalyst for me to explore more of his literary fiction.

Brooklyn tells us the story of Eilis Lacey, resident of a small Irish town, in the years following World War II.  Ellis lives with her widowed mother and sister and her three brothers have moved to England for employment so they can send money back to help support their mother.  Following a supper with a visiting Irish-born, American priest, the family is convinced to send Eilis to the priest’s parish in Brooklyn for the opportunities that living in America can offer.  When she arrives in Brooklyn, Father Flood helps Eilis to secure lodging, employment, and admission to a 2-year night course leading to certification in bookkeeping.  Following two-years in America, Eilis is compelled to return to Ireland because of a familial necessity and she is confronted with the decision to remain in Ireland or return to the life that she has established in America.

This book was a most enjoyable read and I will return to it again in the future.


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