Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn

Colm Toibin

Shy Eilis is cajoled into leaving the catty provincial life of 1950's Enniscorthy and travels to a new life - a new world - in Brooklyn, USA. At first she is homesick but a chance meeting at a dance sparks romance until a sudden shock forces her to return home. A warm, comfortable read with a surprising twist. Rich and indulgent – and you’re still left wanting more.

Extract

She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything. The rooms in the house on Friary Street belonged to her, she thought; when she moved in them she was really there. In the town, if she walked to the shop or the vocational school, the air, the light, the ground, it was all solid and part of her, even if she met no one familiar. Nothing here was part of her. It was false, empty she thought. She closed her eyes and tried to think, as she had done so many times in her life, of something that she was looking forward to, but there was nothing. Not the slightest thing. Not even Sunday. Nothing maybe except sleep, and she was not sure if she was even looking forward to sleep. In any case, she could not sleep yet, since it was not yet nine o'clock. There was nothing she could do. It was as though she had been locked away.

Parallels
  • The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction by Colm Toibin
  • The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane
  • Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy