I've got to say this one was a bit of a let down. It was my first Tóibín and while I wasn't certain what to expect, I didn't expect such a huge emphasis on the love story that unfolds between our protagonist Ellis, a young Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn in hopes of making a better life for herself, and the Brooklyn native she meets, Tony. I was hoping to learn more about the immigrant experience in the 1950's with a particular focus of the Irish experience in New York, but unfortuantley that took a back burner to the romance.
This isn't to say that I didn't like the novel at all. I believe the way Tóibín constructed an undercurrent of Ellis' transformation and growth was both thoughtful and unique. I also liked that the ending wasn't one-dimensional and left room for thought, but overall the book seemed to be lacking. It was more plot driven than I prefer and lacked the nuances I have come to expect in modern literature. I think this would have been a better read for vacation. But I'm not going to give up on Tóibín yet. I hear The Master is quite different and I'd like to give that one a shot.
Publisher: Scribner, 2009