Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- 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, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
By far Tóibín's most instantly engaging and emotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.
New York Times - Liesl Schillinger
Colm Toibin quietly, modestly shows how place can assert itself, enfolding the visitor, staking its claim.
Los Angeles Times - Floyd Skloot
Among that impressive group now in their 50s, Tóibín, with his growing list of international awards, has emerged as the novelists' novelist, a writer whose stylish, elegantly crafted stories of calm surfaces and agitated depths carry genuine urgency.
The scene is eerie, falsely naïve. We may accept what a village girl from Ireland,which remained neutral during the war, may not have known, but Tóibín's delivery of the racial and ethnic discoveries of a clueless young woman are disconcerting.
Starred Review. A fine and touching novel, persuasive proof of Tóibín's ever-increasing skills and range.
Starred Review. Tóibín conveys Eilis's transformative struggles with an aching lyricism reminiscent of the mature Henry James and ultimately confers upon his readers a sort of grace that illuminates the opportunities for tenderness in our lives. Both more accessible and more sublime than his previous works, this is highly recommended.
Starred Review. A compelling characterization of a woman caught between two worlds... A fine and touching novel, persuasive proof of Tóibín's ever-increasing skills and range.
The Telegraph - Robert Hanks
Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn is a controlled, understated novel, devoid of outright passion or contrivance, but alive with authentic detail, moved along by the ripples of affection and doubt that shape any life: a novel that offers the reader serious pleasure.
The Independent - James Walton
Brooklyn goes about its business with such quiet readability that it takes a while to realize how powerfully subversive all of this is. The current preferred myth is that we are, or at least should be, or should want to be, in control of our own lives. By capturing the unspectacular arbitrariness of Eilis's experiences so convincingly, Tóibín subjects this myth to a thorough and calmly intelligent kicking.
The Guardian - Christopher Tayler
One of the striking things about Colm Tóibín, perhaps the most admired Irish writer to emerge since John Banville, is the feeling in his work of a powerful sense of humour being strategically suppressed.
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
(1990). 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 Dublin.
Along with writing a number of critically-acclaimed novels, Tóibín has also
worked as a critic and editor of a variety of anthologies, like The Penguin
Book of Irish Fiction in 1999. He has twice been short-listed for the Mann
Booker Prize, for
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