From The Jacket:
Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, 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 years following World 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.
By far Tóibín's most instantly engaging and emotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.
Brooklyn: A Novel
by Colm Toibin
*Author Website: http://www.colmtoibin.com/
*Other Fiction by Same Author: "The Master", "Mothers and Sons", "A Long Winter", “The Blackwater Lightship”, “The Heather Blazing”, “The South”, "The Story of the Night"
1. Can you relate to the kind of women Eilis is? Why do you think she takes such a passive role in her own life? Why does she go to America? Do you think she really wanted to go?
2. How is Eilis different from her sister Rose? Why do you think Rose encouraged Eilis to go to America?
3. Father Flood states “Parts of Brooklyn are just like Ireland. They’re full of Irish”. How similar is Eilis's hometown, Enniscorthy to her new one, Brooklyn. Do you think her prospects for a future are better in America than they would have been in Ireland?
4. Discuss how you think she adapts to her new home in America. Describe her relationship with her landlady. What was Father Flood’s role in her life?
5. Does Tony’s family share similar traits to Eilis’s family in Ireland?
6. Discuss why after returning to Ireland Eilis responds as she does to her Irish admirer. Do you think she acted out of character?
7. Discuss the factors that act as a catalyst for Eilis’s emotional growth. Would she be a much different person if she stayed in Ireland?
8. How do you feel about the decision she made in the end? Do you think it was the right one?
9. What did you learn about the immigrant’s experience? About life in the 1950’s in Brooklyn and Ireland?