Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Books: Brooklyn

(Note: My 2016 Books page has been updated, and I'll be filling in with quick posts on the titles that didn't get full reviews in the next few weeks. Enjoy!)

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Scribner, 2009
262 p.

Brooklyn, about a young woman who moves from Ireland to New York in the early 1950s and is torn between people and cultures and loves, is lovely and haunting. I read it around the same time as I saw the movie, and I loved both in different ways. But in both cases, I thought the best part was the vivid worldbuilding in both 1950s Ireland and Brooklyn itself. I'm not an expert so can't speak to the accuracy, but the attention to detail made it feel very real, and in general, I love when every choice in a book or movie seems deliberate.

This was the first Toibin I've read (other than some short pieces in the New Yorker), and I took a little while to warm up to the writing style here, but wound up mostly loving the book by the end. It's very interesting how the movie stuck so closely with the plot but had an almost completely different tone; the book is much more ambiguous and unsettling - less of a romance, less traditionally satisfying. But that all made it more interesting for me.

See everything I've read in 2016!

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