- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Reading Brooklyn this Teaser Tuesday
This week the dog was getting shorter walks, bills not paid, the lawn turned to a hayfield and still I read on. From the opening sentence where young Eilis Lacey looks out the upstairs window on her world in a small Irish town to the end of this small novel where Eilis makes a life choice that leaves us questioning, Brooklyn, by Irish writer Colm Toibin, had my full attention. It's a book I hope others will read, so am featuring it for my April 27 Teaser Tuesday, on Miz B's book reading meme over at Should be Reading .
Everyone can play who loves sharing good books. Ms. B's rules are simple:
--Grab your current read,
--open to a random page,
--share a couple of "teaser" sentences from the page,
--watch out for spoiler lines,
--share the title and author--and a brief synopsis--so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can decide if they'd like to read your selection, and post your link in the comments on Miz B's webpage, and finally
--the fun part, check out everyone else's teasers!
Brooklyn, A Novel
by Colm Toibin
Enniscorthy, Ireland -- "As Eilis watched her, it struck her that she had never seen Rose look so beautiful. And then it occurred to her that she was already feeling that she would need to remember this room, her sister, this scene, as though from a distance. In the silence that lingered, she realized, it had somehow been tacitly arranged that Eilis would go to America." p. 25
Synopsis: In the hard years after World War II, young Eilis Lacey joined thousands of other Irish in emigrating to America, leaving her elderly mother and capable older sister Rose behind in their small Irish town. Eilis is just beginning to make her own way, getting a job in a local shop, studying bookkeeping and starting to date. Then Father Flood, an Irish priest from Brooklyn, shows up at their home and offers to sponsor Eilis in America by helping her find lodging and work. The decision is made quickly--mostly by Rose and their mother--that Eilis must go and make her own way in the world. Eilis complies and boards a boat for New York.
Brooklyn in the 1950s, as seen through Eilis' eyes, is a community where different people learn to live and work together, slowing moving past social, cultural, and racial divides. Can the Irish be friends with the Italians? Can "colored" women be served courteously in the local Italian women's department store? Can a bookkeeper date a plumber? Eilis learns to navigate all this turmoil--suffering homesickness, finding love and success in her work and studies. Then she is called back to Ireland and faces a situation that, if the wrong choice is made, will seriously damage her future.
The New Yorker had this to say about Tobin's writing: ". ..Purging the immigrant novel of all swagger and sentimentality, Toibin leaves us with a renewed understanding that to emigrate is to become a foreigner in two places at once." That was young Eilis' dilemma.