Monday, 10 September 2012
Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
Haven't read this? Do try! It's been on my shelves for three years, but as I am likely to be in NY later this year thought it might be a book to read. And it was. The first of Colm Toibin's books for me, but not the last. Set in the 1950's and following a common thread - set in America but starting in Ireland.
Eilis (Aylish) is persuaded by her older sister and a visiting priest that she is likely to get on in the world in America. Indeed, the priest, who's church is in Brooklyn, may be able to make some arrangements for her. It's not long before he has arranged a job and lodgings, and the ticket is bought, and suddenly Eilis is travelling third class, puking her way all across the Atlantic. She arrives in a different world, a world she could not have even imagined from her small town in Ireland. But she is a thinker, not a doer, so she goes out to work, comes home to the lodgings, and at first, simply does not know how she is going to deal with her new life. She mentions bookkeeping to the priest, and before very long he has arranged for her to take night classes. She finds that she loves them gets through the first year with flying colours, and is told that if she passes the second year it is likely that there will be a job in the office of the department store where she works. Life seems to be working out quite well. And then, two things happen. She falls in love, and a death at home in Ireland means that she must return for a visit........Colm Toibin's writing has a wonderfully slow, lyrical quality. I enjoyed that almost as much as the story itself! A joy to read, a short, well written book which I recommend.