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Brooklyn Hardcover – May 5 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1st Edition edition (May 5 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771085362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771085369
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 14.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #225,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Schmadrian TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 26 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a reader, when I read a novel, especially when I'm 'reviewing' one, in the end, my primary question is: 'Am I glad I spent the time on it?'

As a writer, when I read a novel (or a screenplay, or article, or any other piece of writing), especially when I'm 'reviewing' one, in the end, my primary question is: 'Would I like to have written it?'

In the case of Tóibín's 'Brooklyn', the answers would be, in order, 'Yes', and 'No'.

'Brooklyn' was such a strange animal to me. I write as I speak, as I converse, as I express myself in most ways: pithiness rarely rules the day. So to have such a poignant tale told with such reserve, by way of a narrative that's not that far off point-form...this style of writing is not my default choice. However, perhaps because of its -to me, maybe just to me- unusual qualities in this regard, it found a special place in my heart. Its quirkiness was endearing...and I do not mean that in a patronizing way in the least. (For the record, my heroes are John Irving, Pat Conroy, Mark Helprin and Ann-Marie MacDonald. One of my favourite stretches within a novel would be the first forty-or-so pages of Don Delillo's 'Underworld'. Now *that* is writing.) Yes, I'd be curious to read a 'filled-out' version of this 269-page threadbare novel. Yes, there were times I longed for 'more'. But its charms...and its effectiveness...were beyond question for me. So yes, I'm glad I spent the time reading it, I enjoyed it a ton.

But I could never see writing it. If I tried to accomplish even a short story cut from the same cloth, it would, no doubt, be terribly affected, and if successful, more an exercise in determination than creation.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hypes TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 19 2009
Format: Hardcover
Set in Ireland and Brooklyn in the 1950's this rather sad, melancholy novel traces the gradual maturing of Eilis Lacey who leaves her homeland and her beloved home for a time to work in America, leaving her mother, her sister Rose, and her friends. Living in the small village of Enniscorthy and still young and full of hopes and dreams, Eilis finds work at a shop, but the kindly Father Flood, the family pastor instills in Eilis a sense of adventure even as she bears the knowing gossip of her friends and the constant pressure from her mother to cross the Atlantic to seek her fortune. With Eilis's older bothers long gone to England for work, she grows older, always in the shadow of Rose, an avid golf player who seems to become ever more glamorous over the years. Elias is proud of her sister, of how she takes care of her appearance and whom she mixes with, so its not surprising that Eilis heeds her advice and tries to bury all of the fear and dread that she's going to lose her world in Ireland forever. She was looking forward to America and leaving home for the first time. America might be foreign but there was also "an almost compensating glamour attached to it."

Throughout her journey, Eilis is surrounded by characters who seem to have the best of intentions. Luckily, the kindly blond haired Georgina helps Eilis on the stormy voyage when she's wracked with sea sickness as she vomits up all of her boiled mutton amidst all of the shuddering and lunging as the huge ocean liner moves forward. Upon her arrival on Brooklyn, Ellis cannot believe the extent of her naiveté as she's forced to put up with the muddy humidity of summer and the freezing winters with the biting wind, carrying ice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Colm Toibin's work, Brooklyn will not disappoint you. It is at the same time elegantly written and a page-turner.
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By Lorraine Pogue on Feb. 4 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was very good. It revived memories of what life was like after the War and how relationships were given time to slowly develop. The ending I thought was very rushed and disappointed me after the rest of the book being so good.
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