I was at home when I finished Tóibín’s novel, but I didn’t feel at home. There was this odd sense of movement, yet I could not place the uncanny feeling. As the weeks rolled on, I realized the soft, delicate memories portrayed in the novel were starting to settle in—at last. I was moved profoundly by the sense of home, the sense of family, of heritage, of memory, of love.
Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn is a smoothly paced, gentle narrative of Eilis Lacey’s search for a home. Born into a working-class family in Ireland, Eilis lives a quiet life in the radiant presence of her sister Rose. Not finding enough in Ireland to intrigue her quick, industrious mind, Eilis takes an opportunity granted her by the kindness of her mother and Rose. Father Flood, a friend of Rose, offers to sponsor Eilis in New York—grand 1950s in the United States, the stuff of American dreamers.