It is Enniscorthy in the south-east of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's ...
It is Enniscorthy in the south-east of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation. Slowly, however, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life - days at the till in a large department store, night classes in Brooklyn College and Friday evenings on the dance floor of the parish hall - until she begins to realize that she has found a sort of happiness. As she falls in love, news comes from home that forces her back to Enniscorthy, but not to the constrictions of her old life, but to new possibilities which conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn. "Brooklyn" is a tender story of departure and return of great love and loss, and of the terrible choice between personal freedom and duty. In the character of Eilis Lacey Colm Toibin has created a remarkable heroine and in Brooklyn a novel of devastating emotional power.
New. Twice Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, First printing (complete # line) for you collectors. Trade Paperback, no markings, no creases, no spine lines, no stickers and no remainder marks. Book ships to you with FREE Delivery Confirmation and First Class if total weight under 13 ozs. Satisfaction Guaranteed. Ships next business day or sooner.
New in fine dust jacket. SHIP DAILY from NJ; GIFT-ABLE as LIKE NEW FIRST, not a mark NEAR NEW (hidden shelving bump bottom spine) w/DJ NEAR FINE (hugs top spine) AS SHOWN THIS COVER. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 262 p. Audience: General/trade. 7120 7120-From the award-winning author of "The Master" comes a moving historical novel set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, concerning a young woman torn between her family and her past in Ireland and the American who wins her heart.
nice flow to the story - however the ending cam much too soon!
Jan 7, 2010
This is a wonderful book about a young woman's introduction to life in the US in the 1950s. It mirrored stories I heard from my mother's early days in New York, and since it took place in my home town I am familiar with the locale. I highly recommend this.
Sep 17, 2009
A book you'll want to talk about
I loved this book. The writing was exquisite. At times, I found it hard to believe it wasn't written by a woman - so in tune was the writer with his main character.
I couldn't put it down - so much so, that dinner was delayed at our house that evening. With the dishes still on the table I ran back to finish the book. In the hours and days after finishing the story - my mind kept returning to it in a haunting kind of way.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-03-23 Colm Toibin's engaging new novel, Brooklyn, will not bring to mind the fashionable borough of recent years nor Bed-Stuy beleaguered with the troubles of a Saturday night. Toibin has revived the Brooklyn of an Irish-Catholic parish in the '50s, a setting appropriate to the narrow life of Eilis Lacey. Before Eilis ships out for a decent job in America, her village life is sketched in detail. The shops, pub, the hoity-toity and plainspoken people of Enniscorthy have such appeal on the page, it does seem a shame to leave. But how will we share the girl's longing for home, if home is not a gabby presence in her emigre tale? Toibin's maneuvers draw us to the bright girl with a gift for numbers. With a keen eye, Eilis surveys her lonely, steady-on life: her job in the dry goods store, the rules and regulations of her rooming house-ladies only. The competitive hustle at the parish dances are so like the ones back home-it's something of a wonder I did not give up on the gentle tattle of her story, run a Netflix of the feline power struggle in Claire Booth Luce's The Women. Toibin rescues his homesick shopgirl from narrow concerns, gives her a stop-by at Brooklyn College, a night course in commercial law. Her instructor is Joshua Rosenblum. Buying his book, the shopkeeper informs her, "At least we did that, we got Rosenblum out." "You mean in the war?" His reply when she asks again: "In the holocaust, in the churben." The scene is eerie, falsely naive. We may accept what a village girl from Ireland, which remained neutral during the war, may not have known, but Toibin's delivery of the racial and ethnic discoveries of a clueless young woman are disconcerting. Eilis wonders if she should write home about the Jews, the Poles, the Italians she encounters, but shouldn't the novelist in pursuing those postwar years in Brooklyn, in the Irish enclave of the generous Father Flood, take the mike? The Irish vets I knew when I came to New York in the early '50s had been to that war; at least two I raised a glass with at the White Horse were from Brooklyn. When the stage is set for the love story, slowly and carefully as befits his serious girl, Toibin is splendidly in control of Eilis's and Tony's courtship. He's Italian, you see, of a poor, caring family. I wanted to cast Brooklyn, with Rosalind Russell perfect for Rose, the sporty elder sister left to her career in Ireland. Can we get Philip Seymour Hoffman into that cassock again? J. Carol Naish, he played homeboy Italian, not the mob. I give away nothing in telling that the possibility of Eilis reclaiming an authentic and spirited life in Ireland turns Brooklyn into a stirring and satisfying moral tale. Toibin, author of The Master, a fine-tuned novel on the lonely last years of Henry James, revisits, diminuendo, the wrenching finale of The Portrait of a Lady. What the future holds for Eilis in America is nothing like Isabel Archer's return to the morally corrupt Osmond. The decent fellow awaits. Will she be doomed to a tract house of the soul on Long Island? I hear John McCormick take the high note-alone in the gloaming with the shadows of the past-as Toibin's good girl contemplates the lost promise of Brooklyn. Maureen Howard's The Rags of Time, the last season of her quartet of novels based on the four seasons, will be published by Viking in October. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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