•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel Brooklyn accompanies Eilis Lacey, a native of Enniscorthy, Ireland of the 1950s on a reluctant voyage across the Atlantic. Her passage reconstructs a common experience of immigration and exile to New York for the Irish working class seeking to escape the lack of prospects in small-town Ireland after the Second World War. Caught as she is between two homes—the traditional Irish culture she emerges from and the new capitalist society of America to which she emigrates—Eilis is placed in a polemical relationship to the public sphere, staked on multiple grounds of in-betweenness: she is a woman, Irish, and an exile. Belonging, for her, is posited on a complex understanding of the tensions between national and transnational identities. Eilis’s parochialism, at first, and cosmopolitanism, later on, are both decisive characteristics that become driving forces behind her social integration and marriage prospects. She is initially barred from promising job and marriage opportunities due to her naivety and lack of sophistication. As an Irish female immigrant, Eilis becomes in the course of the novel a cosmopolitan from the margins, one of the newly uprooted, and ultimately a split self.

Keywords

Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn, immigration, detachment, minimal realization

References

Cullingford, Elizabeth. “American Dreams: Emigration or Exile in Contemporary Irish Fiction?” Éire-Ireland 49.3 (2014): 60–94. Print.

François, Anne-Lise. Open Secrets: The Literature of Uncounted Experience. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2007. Print.

Hagan, Edward A. “Colm Tóibín’s ‘As Though’ Reality in Mothers and Sons, Brooklyn, and The Empty Family.” New Hibernia Review 16.1 (Spring 2012): 31–47. Print.

Kovács, Ágnes Zsófia. “The Jamesian Secret: Representations of Irish Immigrant Experience in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn.” Americana: E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary 12.2 (Fall 2016): n.pag. Web. 15 Jan. 2018.

Riding, Alan. “The Arts Find Fertile Ground in a Flourishing Ireland.” Nytimes.com. The New York Times 21 Dec. 1997. Web. 15 Jan. 2018.

Stoddard, E. W. “Home and Belonging among Irish Migrants: Transnational versus Placed Identities in The Light of Evening and Brooklyn: A Novel.” Éire-Ireland 47.1 (2012): 147–71. Print.

Savu, Laura Elena. “The Ties That Bind: A Portrait of the Irish Immigrant as a Young Woman in Colm Toíbín’s Brooklyn.” Papers on Language & Literature 49.3 (Summer 2013): 250–72. Print.

Tóibín, Colm. Brooklyn: A Novel. New York: Scribner, 2009. Print.

Tóibín, Colm. Interview by Paul Morton. Bookslut.com. June 2009. Web. 15 Jan. 2018.

Tóibín, Colm. Interview by Joseph Wiesenfarth. Contemporary Literature 50.1 (Spring 2009): 1–27. Print.

Wills, Clair. The Best Are Leaving: Immigration and Post-War Irish Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. Print.

Young, Tory. “Brooklyn as the ‘untold story’ of ‘Eveline’: Reading Joyce and Tóibín with Ricoeur.” Journal of Modern Literature 37.2 (2014): 123–40. Print.

First Page

43

Last Page

54

Language

eng

Share

COinS