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Brooklyn Paperback – Mar 19 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Emblem Editions (March 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771085397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771085390
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“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

About the Author

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 and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the short fiction collection Mothers and Sons. Tóibín was one of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize judges in Toronto. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I know how respected and Booker-nominated this author is and this is the first time I've picked up one of his books. I was disappointed. I never engaged with the main character Eilis, in fact I found her irritating to the extreme. Toibin's style of writing was pedantic and several subplots rambled off by themselves.

The secondary love affair of Eilis did not ring true for a second and the ending of the novel left me frustrated and feeling slightly ripped off.

However, the book got 3 stars from me for the vivid descriptions of small town Ireland and its characters in the 60's and the crossing by liner to New York in that era was beautifully done.

Would I go back to Toibin for second helpings? No.
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By Kona TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
After WWII, a young Irish woman named Eilis comes to America and settles in Brooklyn. She works in a ladies' clothing store, goes to night school, and meets a nice young man.

If you think that was a generic synopsis, wait till you read this book. It's nothing but generic sentences lumped into non-descript paragraphs. There is very little 'in the moment' action and every page reads like a summary ("She went to work and then came home," etc.) Nothing much happens until the last 30 pages.

There is neither action, drama, nor antagonist and I would hardly call Eilis a heroine; she's meek and mousy, says yes to everything, and is so stoic she lacks personality. Reading this book was like looking at a painting through gauze; it was okay but lacked enough detail to make me really like it.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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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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