Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

This was a lovely novel. I finally found a Tóibín work I adore.

Set in the 1950s, the novel follows an Irish girl as she emigrates to Brooklyn, away from her family and friends. The prose is simple. The characters lightly drawn, but not overly simplistic. The period details were evocative. The themes were classic.

I related to a lot of this novel. Like the protagonist Eilis, I made a journey across an ocean to a place I’d never been, without family or friends, and it took me awhile to adjust. I experienced homesickness in a different way because I do not have siblings, and I chose to move away in away that Eilis did not. Still, living in a new place among st strangers and a different culture will always affect you.

Also like the protagonist, I fell in love for the first time when I went away and the moments Eilis shared with Tony reminded me of those times. It really brought me back. Eilis’s mother also reminded me of my own parents which was unnerving. I find the story very realistic to anyone who has been an immigrant before.

I read this novel in anticipation of the upcoming movie starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleeson with an adapted screenplay by Nick Hornby. I knew the general story based on the trailer and this is a love triangle though it’s obvious what Eilis will do however tempting it is. I’m excited for the movie not only because I enjoyed the book. I adore Ronan and think she’s my curent favourite ingenue actress. She’s talented and beautiful. I have a crush on Gleeson, but I know his part will be small. My penchant for Hornby’s work has been documented on this blog before. I think he’s the right author to adapt this work.

All in all, a satisfied book experience in anticipation with what will probably be a satisfied film one.

Read September 6-7, 2015.

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