I had heard of Colm Tóibín, twice shortlisted for the Mann Booker Prize and
author of the critically lauded The Master
, but had never read any of his books until I happened
across his latest. Largely, Brooklyn
is about the immigrant experience and the difficulties
of returning home, but it is also a novel about one woman's maturation, her
change from a person living in the shadows to one fully experiencing life.
follows the experience of
Eilis Lacy, an ordinary Irish girl from the small town of Enniscorthy. Almost
without her knowing it, she is packed off to the United States. Her sister Rose,
the organizer of the family, seems to understand that Eilis will come to nothing
if she sticks around the small town, so she arranges with an Irish-American
priest, and resident of Brooklyn, to send her sister to the States....
Beyond the Book
Like Eilis, Colm Tóibín was born in
County Wexford, Ireland. Born in 1955, he was the second youngest of five
children. He graduated from University College Dublin in 1975 and
promptly moved to Barcelona for three years. His experiences in Spain informed
his first novel
Tóibín returned to Ireland to pursue a masters
but never matriculated. He left academia for a career in journalism, and was
editor of the prominent Irish news magazine Macgill
from 1982 to 1985.
He has taught literature and creative writing at Princeton and Stanford Universities, among
others, and currently lives in...