Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn is the story of a young woman who is stuck in a circumscribed life in a small Irish town, living with her mother and older sister and unable to find proper work despite her accounting skills. By chance she gets to immigrate to the US where she finds employment, career opportunities, a house that’s heated through the night (she particularly enjoys that!), and a sweetheart. She then returns to Ireland for a vacation that may well be a permanent return.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book that describes her journey to America: how difficult it is for her to set on a solitary long-distance journey, her surprise at the different lifestyle in the US, the double reality of her new life and the unchanging Irish town. Then the story got less interesting. Her Italian boyfriend is almost too good to be true and it’s not clear what exactly she sees in him. And then she goes to Ireland on a visit and gets sucked into another romance? That doesn’t make much sense either. Too bad, this immigrant story started well.

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