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Brooklyn Paperback – September 8, 2015
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“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)
About the Author
Colm Tóibín is the author of seven 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. Three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
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The story is set soon after the Second World War and lets us know something about life in Ireland and New York City during those days. This country was welcoming immigrants and they were coming and helping create our growing culture of diversity, many ready to work with needed skills. Eilis travels from Ireland, where she could not find work, to New York, where work was available as well as other advantages, like college courses for career training, and church organized dances for meeting other young people. Thus Eilis finds a new life, even while dealing with sometimes debilitating homesickness.
What I did find is that the story line stayed true between the movie and book, but the motivations behind the characters did change my viewpoint on their personalities somewhat. There were some characters that came across strong in the movie, but more easily manipulated in the book.
The setting for the book is the 1950's after the war. In keeping with the idealism in America and the culture at the time, you can see that there were some persons who may view other characters as lesser to them. This was not as obvious in the movie.
My biggest critique of the book was that it left several story lines hanging. It reminded me of the ending of a book that wants you to buy the next in a series - and maybe there will be another one.
If you are a person who likes a nice, neat bow at the end of a book - this one is not for you. But, if you like the time period and prefer the realistic, historical fiction, then definitely read this book.
I loved loved loved this movie, so I decided to be backwards and read the book.
It's a little different from the movie, but not in a bad way. There's a lot more background and a little more about her trip back to Ireland, as is the case with most books.
The ending was different but very much the same, and if you loved the movie then you should definitely read this book!