The Resource Brooklyn : a novel, Colm Tóibín

Brooklyn : a novel, Colm Tóibín

Label
Brooklyn : a novel
Title
Brooklyn
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Colm Tóibín
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In Ireland in the early 1950s, Eilis Lacey is one of many who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving behind her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation. Slowly, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life -- and finally, she begins to realize that she has found a sort of happiness. As she falls in love, news comes from home that forces her back to Enniscorthy -- not to the constrictions of her old life, but to new possibilities which conflict deeply with the life she has left behind in Brooklyn
Pace
Writing style
Award
  • Costa Novel Award, 2009.
  • ALA Notable Book, 2010.
Review
  • In his latest novel, following The Master (2004), a celebrated and highly imaginative  re-creation of the life of American novelist Henry James, Toibin maintains his focus on the past. Keeping the pace relatively slow and stressing the wealth of authoritative detail, he contrasts small-town Ireland and big-city Brooklyn in the early 1950s, highlighting the vast differences between the two in customs and opportunity. Eilis Lacey, a smart young woman unafraid of hard work, must leave employment-poor Ireland to find a more lucrative existence in booming New York City. Under the auspices of an Irish priest, Eilis secures employment at a department store and residence in a rooming house for young women. She meets a handsome, charming Italian man, and their relationship quickly flowers into love. When her outgoing sister dies in Ireland, Eilis returns home and must face the decision to stay put or go back to the more exciting life she had begun to create in Brooklyn. -- Hooper, Brad (Reviewed 04-15-2009) (Booklist, vol 105, number 16, p29)
  • Signature Reviewed by Maureen HowardColm Tóibín’s engaging new novel, Brooklyn , will not bring to mind the fashionable borough of recent years nor Bed-Stuy beleaguered with the troubles of a Saturday night. Tóibín has revived the Brooklyn of an Irish-Catholic parish in the ’50s, a setting appropriate to the narrow life of Eilis Lacey. Before Eilis ships out for a decent job in America, her village life is sketched in detail. The shops, pub, the hoity-toity and plainspoken people of Enniscorthy have such appeal on the page, it does seem a shame to leave. But how will we share the girl’s longing for home, if home is not a gabby presence in her émigré tale? Tóibín’s maneuvers draw us to the bright girl with a gift for numbers. With a keen eye, Eilis surveys her lonely, steady-on life: her job in the dry goods store, the rules and regulations of her rooming house—ladies only. The competitive hustle at the parish dances are so like the ones back home—it’s something of a wonder I did not give up on the gentle tattle of her story, run a Netflix of the feline power struggle in Claire Booth Luce’s The Women . Tóibín rescues his homesick shopgirl from narrow concerns, gives her a stop-by at Brooklyn College, a night course in commercial law. Her instructor is Joshua Rosenblum. Buying his book, the shopkeeper informs her, “At least we did that, we got Rosenblum out.”“You mean in the war?”His reply when she asks again: “In the holocaust, in the churben .”The scene is eerie, falsely naïve. We may accept what a village girl from Ireland, which remained neutral during the war, may not have known, but Tóibín’s delivery of the racial and ethnic discoveries of a clueless young woman are disconcerting. Eilis wonders if she should write home about the Jews, the Poles, the Italians she encounters, but shouldn’t the novelist in pursuing those postwar years in Brooklyn, in the Irish enclave of the generous Father Flood, take the mike? The Irish vets I knew when I came to New York in the early ’50s had been to that war; at least two I raised a glass with at the White Horse were from Brooklyn. When the stage is set for the love story, slowly and carefully as befits his serious girl, Tóibín is splendidly in control of Eilis’s and Tony’s courtship. He’s Italian, you see, of a poor, caring family. I wanted to cast Brooklyn , with Rosalind Russell perfect for Rose, the sporty elder sister left to her career in Ireland. Can we get Philip Seymour Hoffman into that cassock again? J. Carol Naish, he played homeboy Italian, not the mob. I give away nothing in telling that the possibility of Eilis reclaiming an authentic and spirited life in Ireland turns Brooklyn into a stirring and satisfying moral tale. Tóibín, author of The Master , a fine-tuned novel on the lonely last years of Henry James, revisits, diminuendo, the wrenching finale of The Portrait of a Lady . What the future holds for Eilis in America is nothing like Isabel Archer’s return to the morally corrupt Osmond. The decent fellow awaits. Will she be doomed to a tract house of the soul on Long Island? I hear John McCormick take the high note—alone in the gloaming with the shadows of the past —as Tóibín’s good girl contemplates the lost promise of Brooklyn.Maureen Howard's The Rags of Time, the last season of her quartet of novels based on the four seasons, will be published by Viking in October. --Staff (Reviewed March 23, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 12, p43)
  • /* Starred Review */ This latest from Tóibín (The Master ) begins in the southwestern Ireland town of Enniscorthy during the early 1950s, where dutiful daughter, doting sister, and aspiring bookkeeper Eilis Lacey lives with her mother and older sister, Rose. Her brothers have long since left Ireland to seek work in England, and Eilis herself soon departs for Brooklyn, NY. Once there, she attempts to master living and working in a strange land and to quell an acute and threatening loneliness. Initially friendless and of few means, Eilis gradually embraces new freedoms. She excels in work and school, falls in love, and begins to imagine a life in America. When tragedy strikes in Enniscorthy, however, Eilis returns to discover the hopes and aspirations once beyond her grasp are now hers for the taking. Tóibín conveys Eilis's transformative struggles with an aching lyricism reminiscent of the mature Henry James and ultimately confers upon his readers a sort of grace that illuminates the opportunities for tenderness in our lives. Both more accessible and more sublime than his previous works, this is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]—J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman --J. Greg Matthews (Reviewed March 15, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 5, p98)
Awards note
Costa Book Award, 2009.
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
304563
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1955-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Tóibín, Colm
Dewey number
  • 823/.914
  • 820.8009
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Irish
  • Women immigrants
  • Homecoming
  • Homecoming
  • Irish
  • Women immigrants
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Ireland
  • Ireland
  • New York (State)
  • United States
Label
Brooklyn : a novel, Colm Tóibín
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
735062
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
262 pages
Isbn
9781439138311
Lccn
2009001548
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781439138311
  • (OCoLC)262428686
Label
Brooklyn : a novel, Colm Tóibín
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
735062
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Extent
262 pages
Isbn
9781439138311
Lccn
2009001548
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781439138311
  • (OCoLC)262428686

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