Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Colm Toibin - Brooklyn

So I finished Brooklyn yesterday, sitting at a table in the basement of my law school's library. I thought the book was solid, well-written, but ultimately nothing extraordinary.

Toibin writes very solid sentences that hold together well, but as rich and textured and detailed as his descriptions were, I really didn't _feel_ Brooklyn or Ireland came alive quite enough. The protagonist, a young girl who doesn't quite know who she is or what she wants was, I think, part of the problem - I found myself neither surprised by nor interested in what happened to her. She felt flat and as a result the book felt a bit flat.

But the descriptions of Ireland were amazing and it was an interesting glimpse into the world of someone torn between two countries. Though it had nowhere near the level of complexity and feeling you get from similarly displaced characters in a Jhumpa Lahiri short story.

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