Sunday, March 27, 2016

BROOKLYN






Brooklyn, Colm Toibin, Scribner, 2009, 262 pp
 
 
Summary from Goodreads: Colm Tóibín's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- 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 fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.


My Review:
I loved the movie made from this book. It was one of the few Oscar nominees I saw before the Academy Awards event. The screenplay, the acting, the scenery, the cinematography were all topnotch. The emotional impact was huge.

It is unusual for me to see a movie before reading the book and in this case I have to say I enjoyed the movie more. I've not read anything else by Colm Toibin. I know that he wrote a novel about Henry James. The only thing I have read by Henry James is his 1878 novella Daisy Miller. I was not enamored of his style. I found it stuffy and boring. I am just guessing, but if Toibin liked Henry James enough to write a novel about him, he must have admired him. I found a certain flatness of emotion in Brooklyn which was my problem with Daisy Miller.

So. The poignancy of homesickness that Eilis Lacey suffered when she first came to America is pretty well captured in the book but in such a stoic tone that I did not truly feel it. Same with the realization she has near the end, that one cannot go home again. The love between Eilis and Tony is also portrayed in a subdued fashion.

Whoever brought Nick Hornby on to write the screenplay for the movie was brilliant and wise. He breathed life into a quiet lifeless novel. He also changed (or added on) to the ending and again, it was a smart move.

If you haven't seen the movie, see it. I you have read the book and disagree with me, let me know.  


(Brooklyn is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.) 
 
 
 
 
 
 

10 comments:

  1. I didn't see the movie, but did enjoy the book. The fact that Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay is a strong pull for me. The idea of seeing Colm Toibin as translated by, or through the eyes of Nick Hornby makes the movie all the more appealing.

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    1. That is exactly my point. I am glad you enjoyed the book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it first!

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  2. I've not seen the movie or read the book, but I think you are right. In general, it's better to read the book first.

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    1. That is what I usually do.

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  3. Hooray for Nick Hornby, he must have breathed life into the story for the movie. I liked the movie too. I was impressed by Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. I did not read the book -- and will take a pass on it. As for Henry James, I tried one of his books once and was utterly bored in no time flat. Don't plan to return to Mr. James in the near millennium.

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    1. Saoirse Ronan was truly great in that role. I am with you on Mr James though one of my Goodreads friends thinks I should read him. If I live that long. Ha ha.

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  4. As usual, I just watch the movies, and I'm glad this one was very good. Saoirse Ronan shone in the leading role and so did Emory Cohen (lovely Tony).
    I can't say anything about the book, but based on how lovely the movie was I would have thought the book was so as well.
    I think one of the few books I've read before seeing the movie was The Martian and was so disappointed in the movie...

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    1. Oh my, that is something about The Martian. I loved the movie. I am looking forward to reading the book. Maybe I will love it even more!

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  5. Hello my dear Judy! I didn't read the book and I didn't see the movie but will follow your advice and will give you my feed back ; -)

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