It takes daring to write a novel whose sole purpose appears to be the re-creation of an obsolete way of thinking, said Leo Robson in the London Times. In attempting to convey “from the inside” the experience of an uncertain young Irish woman in 1950s Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín demonstrates “patience, resourcefulness, and impeccable instincts.” It is a quiet performance, but “it is enough.”
Tóibín’s protagonist, Eilis Lacey, is a “docile and incurious” sort, said Liesl Schillinger in The New York Times. She leaves the small-town comfort of County Wexford, not because of some fire in the belly but because she wishes to do what her mother and older sister expect of her, and “the Lacey women cannot speak plainly to one another” long enough for Eilis to mention that she’d much rather not leave. Eventually, she “exacts a bittersweet revenge for the expatriation she never intended,” but Tóibín focuses less on plot than on how a place “can assert itself” on an individual life.
“There is not a sentence or thought out of place” in Brooklyn, said Bernard O’Donoghue in the Irish Times. It is the award-winning author’s “finest fiction to date.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- 10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2014
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
Subscribe to the Week