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Brooklyn

← The PrinceThe Short Stories →

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In the modern literature world, very few novelists can match the writing skills of Irish novelist Colm Tóibín. As a novelist he has published some of the bestselling novels like “The Master” and “Love in a Dark Time: Gay Lives from Wilde to Almodóvar". It is however one of his latest novels “Brooklyn” that has portrayed the true picture of the writer and brought out the best of him as a novelist. This brief book report is going to focus on a few key points in the novel. First, the report will look at the main characters in the novel, then it will give a summary of the novel and in conclusion the paper will give a personal opinion as to why I liked the novel.

“Brooklyn”

There are several characters in the novel “Brooklyn”, however focus is on a young intelligent middle aged girl, Eilis Lacey. In the novel she has been portrayed as well educated, hardworking, smart but at the same time naïve girl. Lacey has one sister (Rose) and three brothers (Pat, Jack and Martin) who left home for the United Kingdom in search of “greener pastures”. Her dad passed on while she was still young. Another main character in the novel is her elder sister, Rose who holds an office job which she uses to support the family and on the side she is an ardent golfer. A catholic priest, Father Flood is one character who plays a very significant role in the novel; he is the one who helped the young Lacey embark on a journey to the United Kingdom in quest to find a better job than the one she was holding. In the novel, his name is symbolic (Father Flood) because it was with his help that “floods” of job opportunities opened for the young lady in Brooklyn. Antonio Giuseppe Fiorello commonly known as Tony is the man that the author used in the novel to bring out the theme of love and affection.

In the novel, Tony who is a plumber tirelessly tries to win the love of Eilis but she proves stubborn and elusive for some time until the last minute when she gives in. Other characters in the novel are her three brothers who are based in Liverpool are Jack, Pat and Martin.

The Review

The story focuses on a young, bright but naïve girl from Ireland. Despite her academic qualifications, she is unable to secure a good paying job in her home town and ends up working in a grocery shop (Kelly’s Grocery Shop). She however gets a life line when a catholic priest, Father Flood notices her intelligence and offers to help her secure a job in Brooklyn. Her trip to the United Kingdom is one that exposes her to the outside world and this shows her naïve side as she meets and interacts with new people along the way. The reason as to why I like the novel is the way the author has intelligently introduced different themes from the theme of struggle to love and affection. Being an educated person, it was assumed that she will automatically secure a clerical job; however this did not happen easily as she had to struggle and take a step at a time in order to achieve what she wanted in life. This did not come to pass because along the way she had to fight external pressure and emotional instability in the quest to settle in America and in the end she had to go back home and continue with her humble village life. Racial discrimination is one theme that cannot be overlooked in the novel, she was discriminated by people she met in all places she visited; she was discriminated by blacks, Italians as well as the Jews.  Reading the novel was like watching a movie based on a true story of a life and times of village girl trying to realize her American dream.

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