Friday, January 1, 2016


by Colm Toibin

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following Word War Two.  Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy.  When an Irish priest from Brooklyn 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, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient 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.  He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans.  But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
from the ebook

Review:  As I was reading, I felt like I was just watching time go by.  I was not connected to Eilis at all and felt like she and the other characters were very one dimensional.  From the synopsis you would think that it was an internal debate trying to decide whether to go to America or not but really it was just decided for Eilis and it seemed to come from no where.  Then she left with no emotions or anything.  Arriving in America was the same way and people just popped up to help her.  I just didn't feel connected with anyone even later in the book when the news from Ireland arrived.  Strange things were introduced like a Jewish professor who may have been in the Holocaust and a woman who may have been a lesbian but those topics weren't taken anywhere nor were they developed.  A little bizarre in my mind.  The basic story could have been interesting but it just fell flat.  The ending was quite abrupt and I wish that I knew more about what happened.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

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