Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2009 (Novel)
ALA Notable Book
Synopses & Reviews
It is Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving 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, however, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life — until 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.
In the quiet character of Eilis Lacey, Colm Toibin has created one of fiction's most memorable heroines and in Brooklyn, a luminous novel of devastating power, Toibin demonstrates once again his astonishing range and that he is a true master of nuanced prose, emotional depth, and narrative virtuosity.
"A classical coming-of-age story, pure, unsensationalized, quietly profound." 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 compelling characterization of a woman caught between two worlds... A fine and touching novel, persuasive proof of Toibin's ever-increasing skills and range." Booklist (starred review)
"[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 Toibin 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.)
"A quiet masterpiece." The Express (U.K.)
“Tóibín … [is] his generations most gifted writer of loves complicated, contradictory power.”
— Floyd Skoot, Los Angeles Times
“A classical coming-of-age story, pure, unsensationalized, quietly profound… There are no antagonists in this novel, no psychodramas, no angst. There is only the sound of a young woman slowly and deliberately stepping into herself, learning to make and stand behind her choices, finding herself.”
— Pam Houston, O, the Oprah Magazine
"[A] triumph… One of those magically quiet novels that sneak up on readers and capture their imaginations."
— USA Today
From the author of The Master comes a moving novel about a young immigrant in 1950's Brooklyn who is torn between her Irish roots and the man who wins her heart.
“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.
About the Author
Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Brooklyn, winner of a Costa Book Award. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York. His play The Testament of Mary, starring Fiona Shaw, directed by Deborah Warner, and produced by Scott Rudin, opens on Broadway April 29, 2013.