Author: Colm Toibin
Genre: Historical Fiction
What’s it about? Set in both Ireland and Brooklyn in the early 1950s, Toibin’s novel tells the endearing and compelling story of Ellis, a young woman who must ultimately choose between her home country and her new life in America. Smart and capable, Ellis leaves her beloved home to find work in Brooklyn. After coping with a horrific voyage across the ocean and paralyzing homesickness, Ellis soon begins to excel at her job and in her college classes. She falls in love and slowly her new country becomes her home. When family tragedy strikes, Ellis is forced to choose between her old life in Ireland and her new life in Brooklyn. This is a lovely story with interesting, believable characters and lavish descriptions that contrast Ellis’ small Irish hometown and 1950s New York City.
After your read the book, be sure to check out the movie adaptation which received many film awards and garnered three Oscar nominations including Best Motion Picture of the Year. The settings are stunning, the acting is superb (Saoirse Ronan was nominated for Best Actress) and the screenplay is wonderfully true to the book.
How did you hear about it? A friend over the holidays watched the movie and recommended it to me. I decided to read the book first, then watch the DVD.
Closing comment: This is the rare but wonderful instance when a movie is as enjoyable as the book on which it is based.
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