Monday, February 7, 2011

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

'Sakhi' Book Club Feb. 2011 Pick

Toibin’s ‘Brooklyn’ was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and earned rave reviews for the author. It tells the story of Eilis Lacey, who leaves her native Enniscorthy in Ireland to do what so many others do – gamble on the chance of finding brighter prospects in America. But even as she finds success and happiness in her new country, the call of home is too powerful for Eilis to resist.  

There is no literary fanfare to the story-telling; instead there is a quietness that allows the narrative to unfold at its own pace. This is in step with Eilis’ own nature, which is deeply serious, introverted and thoughtful. The relationships between Eilis, and her family and friends, are depicted with a fine delicacy, and the author lets the subtle undercurrents reveal themselves over the course of the story.

Many stories seem to reach out from the pages, and pull you into their vortex. This was not one that engulfed me in a similar way. A polite and proper distance was always maintained, but that is not a demerit in itself. Some books are meant to be ravenously devoured, some others to be more decorously appreciated. ‘Brooklyn’ belongs to the latter variety.

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