Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself. (Goodreads)
I agree 100% with this Goodreads review. First off, when I picked this book up in the library, I was a bit reluctant and suspicious, because I was looking for something easy to read and this book had a “2009 Costa Award Winner” sticker on it. So naturally – at least for me – I thought it must be tough reading. But I picked it up anyway, because the description resonated with me: a young girl leaving behind her Irish home to make a new life for herself in the USA. So I took it home with me and let it lie on my bedside table for weeks… Finally when I picked it up to read, I basically went straight through it.
The story as well as the characters have something very tangible. Although set in the 1950s it’s a story almost everyone having lived/worked in a foreign country can relate to. The overwhelming newness of things, the home sickness, the loneliness and the feeling of not belonging but also the fun, the adventure and the excitement of everything. I felt with Eilis – the main character. I felt her sadness, her excitement, her inner turmoil. And I felt angry and frustrated about her final decision. I almost cried for her. And this is when I know I’m reading a good book – when I truly feel with and for the characters.
So this is two thumbs up. If you are into “hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking” storys, you should definitely go and pick up Colm Tóibin’s Brooklyn.