2016 Reading List #1: Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

It’s really great to start my 2016 reading off with such an enjoyable novel. I fell in love with the movie adaptation of Brooklyn a few weeks ago and knew I needed to get my hands on the source text. It did not disappoint.

Apparently I’m in a bit of an Irish literary period, because my last read of 2015 was Martin McDonagh’s play The Cripple of Inishmaan. So basically all I want is to go to Ireland (preferably if it can be the 1950s) and enjoy life.

Brooklyn tells the coming-of-age story of Eilis (pronounced “ay-lish”) Lacey, a young woman who leaves her small Irish town for a job in Brooklyn. Eilis is a kind and mature young woman who can’t quite decide between being homesick and loyal to her Irish roots and beginning a new life in America.

This book is charming in every way, just like the film adaptation shows. It’s a story of romance, love, loss, and courage, but more than anything, it’s the story of a young woman finding her own way in life.

After devouring this novel, I’m interested in reading more of Colm Toíbín’s writing, especially his 2014 novel, Nora Webster, which seems to have character overlap with Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn was a perfect opener to great reading in 2016, and a lovely novel for a quiet winter weekend at home.


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