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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spotlight Review: Man Booker Nominated Novel "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin (Reviewed by Liviu Suciu)

Official Colm Toibin Website
Order "Brooklyn" HERE

INTRODUCTION: I have heard about Colm Toibin when his novel "The Master" was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and later won various prestigious prizes from France and the USA. I am not that excited about biographical reconstructions so I never checked that out but I kept in mind Mr. Toibin as a writer to watch. I saw "Brooklyn" in stores and it seemed another novel of minimal interest for me but when it was nominated for the Booker, I decided to open it and to my surprise it hooked me and I read it breathlessly in two hours , re-read it once the next day and it's another novel that entered my list of "uplifting and relaxing" novels to be read when tired, depressed...

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: You know the story - girl cannot find work in Ireland so she decides to travel to the USA to use her skills and become more than a servant or housewife; there she does well with the help of the Irish community, a kind priest and good people, while dealing with the usual adversities, mean-spirited people and jealousy...

Then she meets a not quite unsuitable boy - he has a good job and is kind, just that he is from a different ethnic group being Italian, when such differences counted; at least he is Catholic but still; and of course his family may or may not approve of the Irish girl either...

And things take their course until tragedy strikes, the girl has to go back (temporarily they hope) and then when back home in Ireland among family and childhood friends, who knows if she will go back to her boyfriend or stay...

Well there is a little more and some twists on this familiar story, but essentially "Brooklyn" is what it adverts itself to be and I overviewed above...

What makes it so compelling ?

I think that first and foremost the prose which is beautiful and clear, then the tone which is neither overtly emotional, nor too detached, the descriptions of people and places that seem perfectly in the period spirit and ultimately the characters, especially Eilis who is just wonderful.

Exquisite and beautiful, try it and see if it will hook you also!


Fabio Fernandes said...

Delicious review, Liviu! I really like Toibin´s work, and it was both a pleasure and a surprise to find this review here! Excellent job!

David Murdoch said...

It's strange that people could be part of the same church (catholic), partake in the same body and blood,, and stil hold ethnic prejudices against each other.

God Bless,

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