Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín Review

Brooklyn has been out for a while, it has enjoyed international popularity and won the Costa Award in 2009 -  I think it was published in Australia and tied in with a publicity tour that saw the author at the Melbourne Writer's Festival and also the First Tuesday Book Club where he was delightfully and engaging guest.

I wanted to love this book. I really did - but this was seriously hamstrung for me, ironically by the author himself on the First Tuesday Book Club when he revealed that he had cribbed parts of his plot from Pride and Prejudice. An endearing admition in the context of the show and somewhat intriguing.

Unfortunately for Toíbín and me as a reader, Brooklyn is no Jane Austen. In both style and content this book was a very different beast to any book featuring Miss. Elizabeth Bennett. Eilis is a quite a seperate character entirely and most of the book is completely seperate. Nevertheless as I was reading I found my self annoyingly imposing the Pride and Prejudice strucure as I went and this didn't work very well at all. 

So, lesson well learned forget what you have read here and enjoy the book for what it is rather than what you hope it might become. Or what the author might coyly drop in as an aside in a panel show!

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