Brooklyn Paperback – 1 Oct 2015
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With this elating and humane novel, Colm Tóibín has produced a masterwork (Sunday Times)
The most compelling and moving portrait of a young woman I have read in a long time (Zoë Heller Guardian, Books of the Year)
A work of such skill, understatement and sly jewelled merriment could haunt your life (Ali Smith TLS, Books of the Year)
Suffused with humane depth, funny, affecting, deftly plotted ... a novel of magnificent accomplishment (Peter Kemp Sunday Times, Novel of the Year)
Brooklyn moved me more than any other book this year (Nicholas Hytner Observer, Books of the Year)
A beautifully crafted work that transformed ordinary lives into something extraordinary (Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year)
No book this year gave me greater pleasure (Nell Freudenberger Financial Times)
Not a sentence or a thought out of place. It takes over as his finest ficiton to date (Irish Times)
Remarkable freshness and immediacy ... with a lovely comedic lightness (Daily Mail)
A lovely, thoughtful book ... 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 (Daily Telegraph)
From the Inside Flap
It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go.
Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. And just as she takes tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis receives news which sends her back to Ireland. There she will be confronted by a terrible dilemma - a devastating choice between duty and one great love.
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It is 1950s rural Ireland. It is arranged by her elder sister and a family priest, that Eilish should go to America. It is deemed she has few prospects in Ireland. ‘Brooklyn’ is a wonderful portrayal of 1950s Ireland and America, the attitudes, the social mores, the prejudices.
The drama comes from observing Eilish’s every step, her every thought, wondering what she will do next. The drama is in the small things. She feels so real. I wanted to say, ‘take a risk’ and ‘don’t’ and ‘go for it’. From the first few pages I was reeled in until I could not put the book down.
This is the sort of book which, having finished it, I almost wish I hadn’t read it; only so I can re-read it again as if it is the first time. It is not a new novel, it was published in 2009 and won the Costa Novel Award that year. It is now a film, which I haven’t seen. I’m not sure whether to, worrying that the film will spoil the book.
Roller-coaster of emotions! "Brooklyn" the book rode me through bewilderment, to strong irritation, then over to acceptance and, in the end, powerful enjoyment. I was moved. As soon as I finished the book I ran to rent the film, that's how much I enjoyed it. Everything is so simple, good-hearted, nice. Brooklyn [DVD]  (the film) is such an easy and yet heartbreaking watch. Everything you expect, based on the book, but so pretty. Take the scenes from the Irish coastline - magnificent!
And that Irish drawl!
To conclude: un-put-downable (I was surprised!). This coming of age tale touches all the important aspects: think about your actions, be prepared to account for what you did and your choices. Also: for a very long while I have not read a book which described love so simply and yet was so moving. Oh the bittersweet broken hearts!
If you feeling sad and melancholy - recommended.
Four solid stars to both the book and the film.
Will try other unread Toibin novels, but found this one a little disappointing.