Brooklyn

Brooklyn

A Novel

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From the award-winning author of The Master, a hauntingly compelling novel—by far Tóibín’s most accessible book—set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s about a young woman torn between her family in Ireland and the american who wins her heart.

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, Eilis cannot find a proper job in the miserable Irish economy.

When an Irish priest from Brooklyn visits the household and offers to sponsor Eilis in America—to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland"—she realizes she must go, leaving her fragile mother and sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and studies accounting at Brooklyn College, and, when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian, slowly wins her over with persistent charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. Eilis is in love. But just as she begins to consider what this means, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her new life.

With the emotional resonance of Alice McDermott’s At Weddings and Wakes, Brooklyn is by far Tóibín’s most inviting, engaging novel.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439138311 | 
  • May 2009
List Price $25.00
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

“One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature,” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in Enniscorthy, Ireland, in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to establish her life in Brooklyn, devastating news from Ireland brings her back to Enniscorthy. Eilis is forced to choose between America and Ireland--and two men who embody these places--in the midst of the sweeping economic and social changes of the 1950s.

Questions for Discussion

1. Before she goes to America, Eilis believes that, “While people from the town who lived in England missed Enniscorthy, no one see more

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