Brooklyn

A Novel
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (794 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Colm Tóibín's New York Times best-selling 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).

©2009 Colm Toibin (P)2009 Simon & Schuster
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

🚢 🌊🇺🇸 🗽Oh, what a tangled web we weave 🛳 ⚓️ 🇮🇪🍀

This is a frustrating story, in some ways, because the main character makes some poor choices and then conceals important truths from her family and friends, and the reader/listener just wants to shake her by the shoulders and talk some sense into her. Also, the book ends even more abruptly than the movie, which made me appreciate the way the screenplay for the film not only shows protagonist Eilis finally telling Jim Farrell the truth, but also takes her all the way back across the Atlantic to Brooklyn, so that at least there is some reasonable closure. In particular, even though it’s been a few years since we saw the movie, we never forgot the scene on the ship in which Eilis, now a seasoned transatlantic traveler, advises a young, frightened solo female first-timer. But: This is a gorgeously written, moving, and surprisingly fast-paced book. I was riveted, which doesn’t often happen for me with such a basically quiet, introspective, literary work. I loved being immersed in the life, thoughts and emotions of a young female immigrant to 1950s New York City.
The narrator is flawless, and sounds a lot like Laura Linney.
Grade: A.
Bechdel test: Pass.

3 people found this helpful

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Home is where the heart is

It is said that home is where the heart is, but for those who have made a life far from where they were raised, the idea of "home" is not so clear. And this particularly may be the case when one has immigrated alone to another country, leaving behind family and friends--even when that new life is the source of opportunity and deep relationships.

This quietly bittersweet story revolves around a young Irish woman, Eilis, who leaves her rural Irish birthplace to come and work in post WWII Brooklyn. With help from others, she makes her way in this radically different world and is well on her way to successfully integrating herself into American society when the old country re-asserts its pull on her.

As some have noted, the ending did seem rather abrupt but I felt it appropriate. Islis had to make a difficult choice and we are left to contemplate how this choice works out for her. We are not given a pat answer as to whether her choice was "right" or "wrong" but are invited to participate in her dilemma and to continue to ponder her thoughts, feelings and actions long after the book is done.

Narration is excellent.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved every word

Such a bittersweet and lovely tale. I had to read it after seeing the truly excellent movie. It' s nearly a tie as to which I enjoyed more, but I think I'll have to give a slight nod to the book. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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Parts great

Potter's reading is very good. The main character's behavior is very much at odds with her personality as it's presented, and there are a few plot elements that are introduced, then dropped. But the story overall is engaging.

7 people found this helpful

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ended too soon

the story moved along well, but it made a sudden left with an anticlimactic and abrupt end.

5 people found this helpful

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Hated the Book, but LOVE the Movie

I read this book when I found out the movie I loved was based on it. Honestly I was very disappointed in the book. Usually the book is better than the movie, but not in my opinion in this case. I hate how Eilis is portrayed as a skeptical character; she seems to read malice into a lot of her interactions with others. In the movie she is more kind, sensible, innocent, etc. I also didn't like that Tony (an Italian boy) was described as so fair with blonde hair & blue eyes; I thought he should have had darker features as most would imagine Italian men. I love Eilis & Tony's love story in the movie and was disappointed when the book portrays it as mostly one sided; that Tony loves Eilis & she for the most part seems almost indifferent.
The only positive thing I can really say about the book is that I'm glad Toibin wrote it so Hollywood producers could alter it and turn it into a wonderful love story worth watching!

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Great book<br />

I loved the book. A very easy book to follow. A great story line.. Recommend book.

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  • mk
  • 10-23-19

Killing me softly with details.

Sweet story of coming of age as an immigrant in America. But the constant minutia of details was extraordinarily and did not always add to the storyline.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful

This book is hard to describe. The author has perfectly painted the ambience, innocence and restraint of post war Ireland and New York. I particularly enjoyed it bc it took me back to my own Irish family and how it was for girls coming of age. It’s the first book in a long time that brought tears to my eyes

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Beautifully written; wonderfully performed

As others have noted, I thought the ending was too abrupt and the motivation for Islis's final decision was not quite developed enough. Otherwise, the prose was beautiful and the sense of time and places was vivid.

1 person found this helpful