Customer Reviews for

Brooklyn

Average Rating 3.5
( 155 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(35)

2 Star

(27)

1 Star

(12)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Touching and Hard to Forget

This Colm Toibin novel is one of the best books I have ever read. I love the delicate, thoughtful prose. The dialogue - such a hard thing for most writers to pull off - feels very real, too, as does the depiction of the immigrant experience. Slowly, patiently, and very ...
This Colm Toibin novel is one of the best books I have ever read. I love the delicate, thoughtful prose. The dialogue - such a hard thing for most writers to pull off - feels very real, too, as does the depiction of the immigrant experience. Slowly, patiently, and very deliberately, Toibin drew me in by narrating from protagonist Eilis' point of view and even reviewing previously-described events from Eilis' perspective. I was lulled into that state you may associate with a good movie: as you become attached to the characters, your stake in a particular sort of ending increases. And herein lies Toibin's skill: he drew me in *twice* -- tricked me with no trickery -- such that his quietly-worded ending delivered me an indescribably powerful punch. Unbelievable.

posted by MJinPA on May 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Oversimplified and not enough plot

This is a simple and gentle story about a young woman's immigration to New York from Ireland in the years after WWII. Much of the novel contains her personal thoughts and her analyzing her future and decisions and life in general. It has an easy pace with lots of desc...
This is a simple and gentle story about a young woman's immigration to New York from Ireland in the years after WWII. Much of the novel contains her personal thoughts and her analyzing her future and decisions and life in general. It has an easy pace with lots of descriptive elements and a vast array of characters.

I really wanted to love this book, but it just seemed oversimplified. I think virtually anyone could have thought up the plot if they were given the basic elements (girl alone in big city, first real job, meeting new people, family crisis). In fact, at one point it felt like an After School Special.

While Toibin depicts the female brain very well in some areas, there are other things that don't ring true. For example, other than her work and classes, the main character seems to have no curiousity about the world in general, or about the exciting new country she has come to. In subjects such as racism and the Holocaust, not only does she know nothing but she has no interest in learning more. And while we hear much of her thoughts, some subjects she doesn't even visit mentally: when her female boss makes a sexual pass at her, she feels uncomfortable but never ponders it again. Yet she ponders so much more trivial stuff all the time throughout the book (what to wear or where to eat)
.
Additionally, while there are some tragic events, overall there doesn't seem to be enough conflict to make the story interesting. All the other characters are almost too good to be true, some crusty or cranky but all of them (excepting Miss Kelly) are big hearted and generous. Money is never really an issue, and things go amazingly smooth for such a huge life change. Again, that seems incredibly unrealistic. And the strange behavior of her fiance's moodiness, her mother's unpleasantness, and her landlady's suspicions are never really explored.

I intend to read more of his work (I have ordered the Blackwater Lightship) and I hope things become a bit more complex and realistic.

posted by SAHARATEA on January 2, 2010

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Touching and Hard to Forget

    This Colm Toibin novel is one of the best books I have ever read. I love the delicate, thoughtful prose. The dialogue - such a hard thing for most writers to pull off - feels very real, too, as does the depiction of the immigrant experience. Slowly, patiently, and very deliberately, Toibin drew me in by narrating from protagonist Eilis' point of view and even reviewing previously-described events from Eilis' perspective. I was lulled into that state you may associate with a good movie: as you become attached to the characters, your stake in a particular sort of ending increases. And herein lies Toibin's skill: he drew me in *twice* -- tricked me with no trickery -- such that his quietly-worded ending delivered me an indescribably powerful punch. Unbelievable.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Brooklyn

    I absolutely loved this book. The characters and settings were so true to that era. Although I did not come from another country, I moved from another state to Chicago at about the same age, so I could identify with many of the things Eilis was feeling.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Captivating!

    In this seemingly classic tale, Toibin unerringly hones in on a young girl's quest to find her true self. Cultured in an environment of self-negation, Eilis unwittingly plays the pawn to all those closest to her, miring her world in confusion, deception and avoidance. In this personal introduction to Colm Toibin, I have found a major talent; I found this selection to be a winner!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Beautiful,romantic,heart warming by: Alexa

    I think this book is the best selling bookin the world. I rated this book a 5 star book. Once i started reading this book, i didnt want to put it down. So after you read this comment, find this book and read it. You will regret NOTHING!!!:)


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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    Highly recommended, beautiful story and good reading!

    I enjoyed reading the story.. Very heartwarming !!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    Loved it!

    I read this book a few years ago and thought it was wonderful. If you like irish immigrant stories you will love it. Really a surprise ending, just loved the whole book. Takes place in the 50's. Its so worth the read and crosses between brooklyn and ireland.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Ty to brook.

    You got locked out go to next result

    0 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful New York Story

    There were several New York stories in my reading this year. Here's another wonderful one. It evokes the time and place so well. I'm a great fan of an English writer of this 1950s period, Elizabeth Taylor, and Toibin has captured that understated style of hers beautifully. You may think very little happens, yet there are life-altering consequences. It's the closest I'll get to reading something of Taylor's this year as I've read all she wrote! That made me very happy! I've read most of what Toibin has written, too, and he never disappoints. Enjoy.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Must read

    This is the first time I have read this author and loved the book and the author. Will certainly read more of her books.

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  • Posted October 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyed this book thoroughly.

    The characters are well-devekoped and the snapshot of the times and places very accurate. I was impressed that the author revealed what a large part pure fate plays in all of our lives. A very satisfying read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    The Real Deal

    Colm Toibin is a masterful writer. It is a pure pleasure to read an old fashioned novel that has a contemporary sensibility. His ability to draw one into the culture of both the small Irish town and the Brooklyn of the 50's is masterful. The reader cares about the characters as well as the meta themes of the book: choices that determine one's life and "roots".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    Evocative, impressionistic, and a page turner as well

    My only complaint about Brooklyn is that it was too short. This beautiful story is about a young Irish woman who immigrates to New York in 1951. Oddly enough, it spoke to me about my mother, who came to New York from Poland in the 1920s when she was four years old. Toibin vividly illustrates the experience of transplantation and portrays the resilience of those who find a better life here. He reminds us yet again that their presence is a gift to America.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    50's Brooklyn & Ireland

    Love the early 50's descriptions, especially of Brooklyn. Well written story that just kept me turning the pages. The cover got me interested, but the story kept me going. Definitely worth reading!

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    Posted July 13, 2011

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    Posted May 17, 2009

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    Posted June 24, 2010

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    Posted May 23, 2014

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