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by Colm Toibin

PBR Review This is what I call a quiet book. The writing is open and clear but subtle, it does not overpower, allowing you to take in and get caught up in every detail. The prosaic style creates powerful emotions as you follow the lead character Eilis on her journey to maturity. She starts out as what can almost be described as an outsider to her own life; she is pulled and molded by the wants and desires of family, no voice or identity of her own, living in her sister’s shadow and defined though the eyes of others. Slowly you watch her morph, into a woman with inner strength and conviction. In the process it is easy to sympathize with her as she experiences loss, adapts to a new cultural, and struggles to make decisions. Although this is the classic immigrant story of hope and resilience, it also leads to a better understanding and appreciation of what women of the 50’s endured as they paved the way for “modern” women of today.Back.
Talking Points: The main character, Ellis is flawed and very conflicted but also a character that's easy to relate to and identify with; book clubs should enjoy discussing her choices and actions. The differences between life in Brooklyn and Ireland in the 50's and the opportunities available to young women are both fascinating aspects of this book which should generate conversation. Book clubs should also enjoy discussing the emotional impact of starting a completely new life;the changes that take place and the type of person capable of doing this and perhaps contrasting these traits with those of Ellis. This book will have appeal to book clubs that enjoy a more literary read and character driven novels.
PBR Reader Comments:
I loved this book. It's a purely character driven novel, written in a very subtle style. The plot has almost no twists and turns; it's really all about the beautiful prosaic style of writing.
by-Lyn 2009/07/30, 07:48 PM

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