Having been made into a very successful Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning film, Colm Tóibín’s book is an endearing and a wonderful story.
Having won the Costa Novel Award, Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis who leaves Ireland to start a new future for herself in New York as so many Irish girls had to do in the early 1950’s. What follows is a tale of love, self-discovery, loss and a heart torn between two countries.
Written with great style and heart, the novel really takes you into the head of Eilis as she struggles to cope with being away from her family and everything that she knows. Tóibín is able to capture the isolation and loneliness, by using few words but perfectly chosen.
The novel also offers a very vivid portrait of the two countries that Eilis has lived in. The small town in Ireland where everybody knows your business whether you want them to or not and the fast pace and more relaxed attitude in New York.
The author shows great sympathy towards his main character and the choice she has to make when she is summoned back to Ireland and leaves the reader effectively guessing until the last couple of pages.
It is a shame however, that some of the other characters aren’t as well developed as Eilis – but then as it is about her personal journey perhaps it is not too much of a surprise. But it would have been great to read more about Jim and his background and character, making the decision she has to make more difficult, adding the suspense more.
But despite this, it is a novel that won’t fail to charm or delight in its almost poetic language and a brave and almost modern heroine who teaches the reader what it really means to stand on your own two feet – no matter how difficult it might be at first.
This is an easy going and laid back read that is a perfect choice if you are going away on holiday.
Brooklyn is available to buy in book and DVD form through Amazon now.