Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I don't know much about Colm Toibin. I know he writes exceptional articles for the NYRB now and again. I also know he wrote one of my very favorite novels about one of my very favorite novelists. The Master was worthy of its subject, and after finishing it I decided to check out more Toibin.
But strangely, I didn't until his newest came out. Brooklyn is not so challenging nor so sophisticated as The Master, but it is an exceptional and beautiful little book. Toibin writes Eilis Lacey in a manner of which the Master would approve. She's as light in some ways as Daisy Miller, but has Isabel Archer profundity after moving from Ireland to Brooklyn. She's also got some issues with pride and prejudice, but makes up for them with sense and sensibility. Eilis finds out that small-town Irish gossip has world-wide repurcussions: even in the 1950's, it was a small, small world. I'll read this one again some day, and must again commit to reading more Toibin. Anyone who writes women this real has it going on.