In the years
following WWII work is hard to find in Ireland. Ellis settles for a part
time job in a shop; the prospects for improvement are not good. A priest
from America offers to sponsor Ellis’s immigration to Brooklyn where he
promises to find her employment. Ellis doesn’t really want to leave her
mother or her sister Rose. She holds inside the turmoil she feels and
puts on a brave face. She hopes something will keep her in Ireland, but she is
on the boat when it pulls away headed across the Atlantic to a new world.
Ellis’s homesickness is bone crushing. She misses her mother and sister
fiercely. Thankfully the Priest recognizes Ellis’s distress and forms a
plan to get her back into the stream of life. He signs Ellis up for night
classes. Between work and school, she is a busy girl, but not too busy
for a young man with beautiful dark eyes. The experience of an Irish
immigrant in Brooklyn is described so well you will feel like you are right
there with the characters.
May 2009 Indie Next List
“Eilis Lacey has come of age in the dark, impoverished Ireland of the 1950s. Trained as a bookkeeper but unable to find suitable work, she makes a new home in Brooklyn. Struggling to understand her new world and haunted by the old, she lives the classic immigrant story of loss and regret, hope and resilience. Brooklyn is a quiet tour de force.”
— Nan Hadden, Books Etc., Falmouth, ME
March 2010 Indie Next List
“One of the loveliest novels of 2009 now available in paperback: an Irish coming-of-age story that is both heartrending and full of hope. Toibin is a master.”
— Matthew Lage, Iowa Book L.L.C., Iowa City, IA
Summer '10 Reading Group List
“Eilis Lacey has no apparent future in rural Ireland, and with the help of a priest makes her way to a Catholic enclave in Brooklyn. Uncanny in its evocation of a young woman coming of age, and of a city coming of age, Brooklyn is at once interior and ironic, distanced and involving. Toibin, who is masterful here in his depiction of Brooklyn and Ireland circa 1950, and of such issues as self determination, love of country, love of family, and, of course, sexual love. Perfect for book groups!”
— Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
Colm Tóibín’s New York Times bestselling novel—now an acclaimed film starring Saoirse Ronan and Jim Broadbent nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture—is “a moving, deeply satisfying read” (Entertainment Weekly) about a young Irish immigrant in Brooklyn in the early 1950s.
“One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, 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, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
Author “Colm Tóibín…is his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power” (Los Angeles Times). “Written with mesmerizing power and skill” (The Boston Globe), Brooklyn is a “triumph…One of those magically quiet novels that sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations” (USA TODAY).
About the Author
Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
“Tóibín … [is] his generation’s most gifted writer of love’s complicated, contradictory power.”
— Floyd Skoot, Los Angeles Times
“A classical coming-of-age story, pure, unsensationalized, quietly profound… There are no antagonists in this novel, no psychodramas, no angst. There is only the sound of a young woman slowly and deliberately stepping into herself, learning to make and stand behind her choices, finding herself.”
— Pam Houston, O, the Oprah Magazine
“Reading Tóibín is like watching an artist paint one small stroke after another until suddenly the finished picture emerges to shattering effect…. Brooklyn stands comparison with Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady.”
— The Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
"[A] triumph… One of those magically quiet novels that sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations."
— USA Today