By Colm Toibin
(Scribner, Paperback, 9781439148952, 272pp.)
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
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“One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), 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, 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, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
Colm Tóibín was born in Ireland in 1955. He is the author of six novels, including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Brooklyn, winner of a Costa Book Award. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York. His play The Testament of Mary, starring Fiona Shaw, directed by Deborah Warner, and produced by Scott Rudin, opens on Broadway April 29, 2013.
Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick. More at NPR.org
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"A classical coming-of-age story, pure, unsensationalized, quietly profound." -- Pam Houston, O, the Oprah Magazine
"A beautifully rendered portrait of Brooklyn and provincial Ireland in the 1950s... Toibin writes about women more convincingly, I think, than any other living, male novelist." -- Zoe Heller, author of The Believers
"A compelling characterization of a woman caught between two worlds... A fine and touching novel, persuasive proof of Tóibín's ever-increasing skills and range." -- Booklist (starred review)
"[A] masterly tale... There is not a sentence or a thought out of place." -- Irish Times
"Colm Toibin leads a generation of Irish novelists... His generation's most gifted writer of love's complicated, contradictory power." -- Los Angeles Times
"Toibin's prose is as elegant in its simplicity as it is complex in the emotions it evokes." -- The New York Times Magazine
"Reading Tóibín is like watching an artist paint one small stroke after another until suddenly the finished picture emerges to shattering effect." -- The Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
"A quiet masterpiece." -- The Express (U.K.)