Brooklyn | Colm Toíbín


The Book

Just in time for the film on DVD! So this book follows Eilis Lacey in small town 1950s Ireland. When she’s offered a job in New York (Brooklyn you might even say…) She takes it and sails across the sea knowing full well she might never return home again. She creates a life for herself in New York, even finding a boyfriend. Until disaster strikes and she’s forced to decide where home really is for her.

The Good Bits

– Eilis

The character really grows up from when we first see her to when we close the book. She gains confidence and some perspective on life.

-The Concept

Moving to a new place is scary, and moving all on your own when you might not ever come back is ever scarier, Tóibín really portrays the uncertain, fearfulness of it all without overwhelming the reader to put the book away!

– The voice

The voice of the Author is truely one of beauty. I have never heard him speak but I would still quite gladly listen to him read his work for the rest of my life. It has this fairy tale, sing-song rhythmic nature to the words which brings the work to life.

The Not-So-Good Bits

– The length

While I love where the book ends, if it had to end somewhere I’m glad it ended there, I wish it was longer, but I do wish we had an epilogue of what happened when she returned to Brooklyn. How she felt about her decision in a month, a years time. That would be interesting to see.

– Speed.

Maybe it was just because I was coming off a book binge, but I found that in some parts this book was slow moving. The plot didn’t really move forward for parts of the novel, because we were waiting until she could go back to Ireland and decide.

Thoughts from the Back Cover | Where is Home?

As someone who was actually lived in another country I felt this most strongly in the novel. Of course I didn’t have such an interesting life in Japan as Eilis had in Brooklyn, so for someone like Eilis it really was a debate.

In hindsight I have decided that Home is where I make it to be. I didn’t enjoy most of my time in Japan because I was so busy trying to return to Australia my home, I didn’t let Japan be my home. Next year I’m planning on living overseas again and this time I’m determined to let that place be home because otherwise it’s really not going to be an enjoyable experience.

Like Hannah Montana says, “Life’s what you make it.” You can have fun if you want to, that place can be home if you want it to be. Often what’s holding you back is your own ideas, and if you let them, other ideas can take you places you never thought to go.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.



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