Book vs Film: Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.
Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
By far Tóibín’s most instantly engaging andemotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.
This is my first read by Colm Toibin and I can honestly say it won’t be my last for Toibin has written a story that is both descriptive and realistic in its telling.
Set in the 1950s, Brooklyn follows Eilis Lacey as she moves from her small town in Ireland to Brooklyn for a job in a department store.
In Brooklyn Eilis discovers that everything is different; away from home life is far from perfect and homesickness soon takes hold.
But then just as she seems finally to be adjusting to life in Brooklyn, she suddenly discovers that she must return to Ireland and the town she used to call home.
It is extremely refreshing to read a story that is an open and honest telling of life in a different era, with a wonderful array of characters who are portrayed as regular people.
I love how the author allows you to connect with Eilis and experience the journey she goes on, both physically and mentally, it really was a pleasure to see her character gain confidence with her independence.
Besides Eilis I found myself captivated by Father Flood and Tony. These two men both help Eilis grow and find her way in the world.
This book is beautifully written from beginning to end, I’m just sad that it had to end.
Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson star in this romantic drama adapted from the novel by Colm Tóibín. Set in the 1950s, the story follows young Irish woman Ellis Lacey (Ronan) as she travels to New York City in search of a better life. Initially homesick, she begins to adjust to her new surroundings with the help of Italian-American Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) with whom she becomes romantically involved.
After news of a family crisis, Ellis returns to Ireland where she enjoys spending time back in her hometown and becomes acquainted with a young man, Jim Farrell (Gleeson), finding herself torn between two very different paths. The cast also includes Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film
I’m a big believer in reading the book before watching the film and that was exactly what I did with Brooklyn.
The film was cast perfectly, you only have to look at Julie Walters as Mrs Kehoe to agree and it was great seeing Saoirse Ronan bring Eilis to life on the big screen.
But I will admit I was slightly disappointed at the way certain parts were rewritten for the big screen, although I am glad that they kept the ship scene.
Brooklyn is a heart warming tale of romance that shares in gentle humour.