Starting BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin

With great, truly superhuman effort, self forced herself to finish reading Silas Marner.

Part of the reason she was so reluctant was — aside from the fact that George Eliot is simply great — she didn’t think she’d be able to get into Brooklyn. The reviews she read on-line led her to think it might be meandering and somewhat dull.

But, that just goes to show how very idiosyncratic self’s tastes in reading are. Because the minute she began reading Brooklyn, she was completely entranced.

An excerpt (pp. 28 – 29):

“Well, I just came to say that I’ll be going to America in about a month’s time,” Eilis said. “I’m going to work there and I wanted to give you plenty of notice.”

Miss Kelly stood back from the counter. “Is that right?” she asked.

“But I’ll be here on Sundays of course until I go.”

“Is it a reference you’re looking for?”

“No. Not at all. I just came to let you know.”

“Well, that’s lovely now. So we’ll see you when you come home on holidays, if you’ll still be talking to everyone.”

“I’ll be here on Sunday,” Eilis said.

“Ah, no, we won’t be needing you at all. If you’re going, you’re best to go.”

“But I could come.”

“No, you couldn’t. There’d be too much talk about you and there’d be too much distraction and we’re very busy on a Sunday, as you know, without that.”

“I was hoping I could work until I left.”

“Not here you can’t. So be off with you now.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2 Comments

  1. Debbie said,

    January 30, 2015 at 12:10 am

    I LOVE that book, even though there are many reasons why I should have disliked it. Somehow, the writer made it work (for me, anyway). Looking forward to your comments as you make your way through it.

    • January 30, 2015 at 1:41 am

      So glad to have you say that you loved the book. I read novels mainly to learn about how structure in long-form narrative works, and the reader reviews are the ones I go by, not the erudite book reviewers at the NYTBR or the NYRB. So, it seemed like everything was wrong here: the point of view was shallow, the events were boring, etc etc

      The excerpt I quoted was so absolutely WICKED good. The dislike, the pettiness came through so clearly. It was HARSH. I felt like I was being gutted (along with the girl, Eilis.).

      Now I’ll continue reading with abandon!


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