Brooklyn by Colm ToibinBrooklyn by Colm Toibin


byColm Toibin

Paperback | August 21, 2015

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It is Enniscorthy in the southeast 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 — 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, not to the constrictions of her old life, but to new possibilities which conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn.

In the quiet character of Eilis Lacey, Colm Tóibín has created one of fiction’s most memorable heroines and in Brooklyn, a luminous novel of devastating power. Tóibín demonstrates once again his astonishing range and that he is a true master of nuanced prose, emotional depth, and narrative virtuosity.
Colm Tóibín’s most recent novel, The Master, won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Le prix du meilleur livre étranger, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His other books of fiction include The Story of the Night, The Blackwater Lightship, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize ...
Title:BrooklynFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.7 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.2 × 0.7 inPublished:August 21, 2015Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771083564

ISBN - 13:9780771083563


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful!! I watched the movie first which made me want to read the book. It is such a wonderful love story. Both the movie and the book were well done and truly pulled at my heartstrings. I recommend both the book and the movie!
Date published: 2018-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely Read! Really loved reading this novel! Read this one before the movie and the book is more captivating! Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great story with lovely characters!
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A new personal favourite The movie was so breathtaking that I felt compelled to read the book afterwards. I'm glad I did as it is now a dear favourite. Stunning and universal.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read An amazing read. Would definitely read the author's other books. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Way Better then Movie I read this book AFTER watching the movie, and I love the book as well. I just books because we know what the characters as thinking as well as some of the other details.
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic vacation read Easy and straightforward writing gives the story more depth and interest. i found Toibin's writing made the characters really stand out by not distracting me with fancy word play. It's an easy read and quite satisfying. I also appreciated that he writes a really relatable introverted protagonist.
Date published: 2018-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites This is a beautiful love story as well as a coming of age book. Really relatable characters and beautifully written scenes. I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I enjoyed the book as much as the movie but i was not a fan of the ambiguous ending in the book, is she in love, is it obligation?
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good story Loved the story, very easy to get through, almost identical to the movie adaptation. would recommend
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I loved it! It was devastating and beautiful at the same. You could relate to the main character and what she was going through. It was a beautiful coming of age story.
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from beautifully written this book was a very nice surprise. beautiful, easy read, it brings you to time when choices and decisions were valued and limited
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Filled with emotion, wonderfully written 4.5 stars. My grandmother emigrated from Ireland to the US at 18 as a war bride. I felt like this book gave me a profound understanding of her homesickness and the life shift when coming to a new country. It is written with sensitivity and connects you to the characters in a real way. It prompted me to read more of Toibin's works and I have not been disappointed.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book! I never thought that I would be so in love with Irish history. And it is amazing how it is connected with the American immigration history. Everything is all wrapped in one, it is so entertaining to read!
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! Character driven and beautifully written - you'll come to care about the people you're reading about. Ellis's story is believable, and you'll root for her and dislike her throughout the novel. I loved Tony and his family, and their interactions with Eilis. If you like historical fiction (or just want to read a book with a well written and touching story), I highly recommend Brooklyn! Readable and enjoyable. (Then do yourself a favour and watch the movie, which was also excellent!)
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Wish we would know what happened between her and Tony after she left her mum and Ireland. Could not put it down.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this novel We had to do a study unit on a fictional multicultural novel and I wanted to do something in the UK so I chose this novel... It was amazing. I really felt all of the emotions that Ellis felt I believe it was a wonderful story.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay but not great I love historical fiction and I have grown to love reading about the immigrant experience. The movie Brooklyn got incredible reviews but I don't like to watch a movie before I have read the book it is based on. Brooklyn wasn't a bad book, but something was lacking. I did not connect to Eilis and did not find her interesting as a character or as a person. Although some parts of the book were certainly poignant and memorable, I don't feel like Brooklyn stands out among other novels on the immigrant experience in the U.S. I will definitely watch the movie though.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read. A wonderful story filled with emotion, and hit close to home. The storyline didn't advance too much, but it built up to lots of twists and turns in the end.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This brought so many emotions to the surface for me as I too have moved from my family home to a new environment. The roller coaster feelings that are experienced when you are trying to fit in and trying to find your way in a new world and then going back home. You can feel the emotions are you are torn between the two worlds. The storyline didn't have too much movement but, the writing was very well done and I found that I just didn't want it to end.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simple but Effective Toibin's novel has a very simple story and plot, but it is presented in such a way that the reader cannot put the novel down. Much like the movie adapted from it nothing spectacular happens to the characters that doesn't happen to everyone else. But these non-spectacular things are presented in such a wholesome and brilliant way that the reader can't help but feel like these small plot lines in the book are grand important events.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Take it or Leave it Though the book was 100X better than the movie, it fell flat. The story had the potential to be interesting, but fell flat. This is an immigration story, not a love story; don't be fooled. If you are looking for a romantic novel, there are much better ones out there.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Fast, Unspectacular Read The novel is a very simple story, simply told. There is nothing spectacular about the novel.
Date published: 2016-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books of the year A beautiful novel about a young immigrant in New York. I instantly fell in love with the main character Eilis. While reading this book, I laughed with her and cried with her. The feelings she has about homesickness, first loves and new jobs are all universal experiences that I easily related to. I would recommend this book to just about anyone. It’s the type of book that makes you feel so good you never want it to end.
Date published: 2016-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A wonderful story about an Irish woman's immigrant experience in America For anyone who decides to read this award winning novel that has been made into a movie, you will find this novel's plot is most definitely character driven rather than plot driven. What this means is the plot unravels slowly, but if you persevere and focus on how the protagonist faces the struggles she faces, you will be rewarded with a fascinating, thought provoking story filled with engrossing characters and situations. The author is definitely talented with the ability to delve deep into the psyche of the people he has created, making them so human, so real, so believable! I found that the heroine had a far easier immigrant experience than other Irish immigrants of the time. Nevertheless, the story is still credible in its own way. The more I read, the more I became absorbed by the story. It is the last quarter of the book that brings the satisfaction and a little conflict into the tale. Now that I've read the book, I most definitely want to see the movie. All in all, I found this to be a very solid read, albeit slow. For those who love character driven novels, and who love to explore the human psyche, this is one of the best. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2015-12-19

Read from the Book

Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work. She watched Rose crossing the street from sunlight into shade, carrying the new leather handbag that she had bought in Clerys in Dublin in the sale. Rose was wearing a cream-coloured cardigan over her shoulders. Her golf clubs were in the hall; in a few minutes, Eilis knew, someone would call for her and her sister would not return until the summer evening had faded.Eilis’s bookkeeping classes were almost ended now; she had a manual on her lap about systems of accounting, and on the table behind her was a ledger where she had entered, as her homework, on the debit and credit sides, the daily business of a company whose details she had taken down in notes in the Vocational School the week before.As soon as she heard the front door open, Eilis went downstairs. Rose, in the hall, was holding her pocket mirror in front of her face. She was studying herself closely as she applied lipstick and eye make-up before glancing at her overall appearance in the large hall mirror, settling her hair. Eilis looked on silently as her sister moistened her lips and then checked herself one more time in the pocket mirror before putting it away.Their mother came from the kitchen to the hall.“You look lovely, Rose,” she said. “You’ll be the belle of the golf club.”“I’m starving,” Rose said, “but I’ve no time to eat.”“I’ll make a special tea for you later,” her mother said. “Eilis and myself are going to have our tea now.”Rose reached into her handbag and took out her purse. She placed a one-shilling piece on the hallstand. “That’s in case you want to go to the pictures,” she said to Eilis.“And what about me?” her mother asked.“She’ll tell you the story when she gets home,” Rose replied.“That’s a nice thing to say!” her mother said.All three laughed as they heard a car stop outside the door and beep its horn. Rose picked up her golf clubs and was gone.Later, as her mother washed the dishes and Eilis dried them, another knock came to the door. When Eilis answered it, she found a girl whom she recognized from Kelly’s grocery shop beside the cathedral.“Miss Kelly sent me with a message for you,” the girl said. “She wants to see you.”“Does she?” Eilis asked. “And did she say what it was about?”“No. You’re just to call up there tonight.”“But why does she want to see me?”“God, I don’t know, miss. I didn’t ask her. Do you want me to go back and ask her?”“No, it’s all right. But are you sure the message is for me?”“I am, miss. She says you are to call in on her.”Since she had decided in any case to go to the pictures some other evening, and being tired of her ledger, Eilis changed her dress and put on a cardigan and left the house. She walked along Friary Street and Rafter Street into the Market Square and then up the hill to the cathedral. Miss Kelly’s shop was closed, so Eilis knocked on the side door, which led to the upstairs part where she knew Miss Kelly lived. The door was answered by the young girl who had come to the house earlier, who told her to wait in the hall.Eilis could hear voices and movement on the floor above and then the young girl came down and said that Miss Kelly would be with her before long.She knew Miss Kelly by sight, but her mother did not deal in her shop as it was too expensive. Also, she believed that her mother did not like Miss Kelly, although she could think of no reason for this. It was said that Miss Kelly sold the best ham in the town and the best creamery butter and the freshest of everything including cream, but Eilis did not think she had ever been in the shop, merely glanced into the interior as she passed and noticed Miss Kelly at the counter.Miss Kelly slowly came down the stairs into the hallway and turned on a light.“Now,” she said, and repeated it as though it were a greeting. She did not smile.Eilis was about to explain that she had been sent for, and to ask politely if this was the right time to come, but Miss Kelly’s way of looking her up and down made her decide to say nothing. Because of Miss Kelly’s manner, Eilis wondered if she had been offended by someone in the town and had mistaken her for that person.“Here you are, then,” Miss Kelly said.Eilis noticed a number of black umbrellas resting against the hallstand.“I hear you have no job at all but a great head for figures.”“Is that right?”“Oh, the whole town, anyone who is anyone, comes into the shop and I hear everything.”Eilis wondered if this was a reference to her own mother’s consistent dealing in another grocery shop, but she was not sure. Miss Kelly’s thick glasses made the expression on her face difficult to read.“And we are worked off our feet every Sunday here. Sure, there’s nothing else open. And we get all sorts, good, bad and indifferent. And, as a rule, I open after seven mass, and between the end of nine o’clock mass until eleven mass is well over, there isn’t room to move in this shop. I have Mary here to help, but she’s slow enough at the best of times, so I was on the lookout for someone sharp, someone who would know people and give the right change. But only on Sundays, mind. The rest of the week we can manage ourselves. And you were recommended. I made inquiries about you and it would be seven and six a week, it might help your mother a bit.”Miss Kelly spoke, Eilis thought, as though she were describing a slight done to her, closing her mouth tightly between each phrase.“So that’s all I have to say now. You can start on Sunday, but come in tomorrow and learn off all the prices and we’ll show you how to use the scales and the slicer. You’ll have to tie your hair back and get a good shop coat in Dan Bolger’s or Burke O’Leary’s.”Eilis was already saving this conversation for her mother and Rose; she wished she could think of something smart to say to Miss Kelly without being openly rude. Instead, she remained silent.“Well?” Miss Kelly asked.Eilis realized that she could not turn down the offer. It would be better than nothing and, at the moment, she had nothing.“Oh, yes, Miss Kelly,” she said. “I’ll start whenever you like.”“And on Sunday you can go to seven o’clock mass. That’s what we do, and we open when it’s over.”“That’s lovely,” Eilis said.“So, come in tomorrow, then. And if I’m busy I’ll send you home, or you can fill bags of sugar while you wait, but if I’m not busy, I’ll show you all the ropes.”“Thank you, Miss Kelly,” Eilis said.“Your mother’ll be pleased that you have something. And your sister,” Miss Kelly said. “I hear she’s great at the golf. So go home now like a good girl. You can let yourself out.”Miss Kelly turned and began to walk slowly up the stairs. Eilis knew as she made her way home that her mother would indeed be happy that she had found some way of making money of her own, but that Rose would think working behind the counter of a grocery shop was not good enough for her. She wondered if Rose would say this to her directly.

Editorial Reviews

“Tóibín’s genius is that he makes it impossible for us to walk away.”— The New Yorker "Brooklyn is Colm Tóibín's most beautifully executed novel to date.... Reading Tóibín is like watching an artist paint one small stroke after another until suddenly the finished picture emerges to shattering effect."— Times Literary Supplement"Disarmingly effective and affecting."— National Post"A small masterpiece"— The Guardian"Tóibín is himself a master — like his countryman William Trevor — of a kind of deep gentleness, even as the darkness falls on his characters.... Here is a writer who quietly watches and reports, shocked at nothing, missing nothing." — Globe and Mail