“Eilis Lacey has come of age in the dark, impoverished Ireland of the 1950s. Trained as a bookkeeper but unable to find suitable work, she makes a new home in Brooklyn. Struggling to understand her new world and haunted by the old, she lives the classic immigrant story of loss and regret, hope and resilience. Brooklyn is a quiet tour de force.”
— Nan Hadden, Books Etc., Falmouth, ME
March 2010 Indie Next List
“One of the loveliest novels of 2009 now available in paperback: an Irish coming-of-age story that is both heartrending and full of hope. Toibin is a master.”
— Matthew Lage, Iowa Book L.L.C., Iowa City, IA
Summer '10 Reading Group List
“Eilis Lacey has no apparent future in rural Ireland, and with the help of a priest makes her way to a Catholic enclave in Brooklyn. Uncanny in its evocation of a young woman coming of age, and of a city coming of age, Brooklyn is at once interior and ironic, distanced and involving. Toibin, who is masterful here in his depiction of Brooklyn and Ireland circa 1950, and of such issues as self determination, love of country, love of family, and, of course, sexual love. Perfect for book groups!”
— Betsy Burton, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT
From the award-winning author of The Master, a hauntingly compelling novel—by far Tóibín’s most accessible book—set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s about a young woman torn between her family in Ireland and the american who wins her heart.
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, Eilis cannot find a proper job in the miserable Irish economy.
When an Irish priest from Brooklyn visits the household and offers to sponsor Eilis in America—to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland"—she realizes she must go, leaving her fragile mother and sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and studies accounting at Brooklyn College, and, when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian, slowly wins her over with persistent charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. Eilis is in love. But just as she begins to consider what this means, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her new life.
With the emotional resonance of Alice McDermott’s At Weddings and Wakes, Brooklyn is by far Tóibín’s most inviting, engaging novel.
About the Author
Colm Tóibín is the author of nine novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections, and Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know, a look at three nineteenth-century Irish authors. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.
"A classical coming-of-age story, pure, unsensationalized, quietly profound." -- Pam Houston, O, the Oprah Magazine
"A beautifully rendered portrait of Brooklyn and provincial Ireland in the 1950s... Toibin writes about women more convincingly, I think, than any other living, male novelist." -- Zoe Heller, author of The Believers
"[A] masterly tale... There is not a sentence or a thought out of place." -- Irish Times
"Colm Toibin leads a generation of Irish novelists... His generation's most gifted writer of love's complicated, contradictory power." -- Los Angeles Times
"Toibin's prose is as elegant in its simplicity as it is complex in the emotions it evokes." -- The New York Times Magazine
"Reading Tóibín is like watching an artist paint one small stroke after another until suddenly the finished picture emerges to shattering effect." -- The Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)