My cousin sent me a meme describing the sorrow we feel when a novel ends - when we must give up our relationship with a character and in essence, break-up with them. We walk away and move forward leaving them as a memory in our past.
It was Brooklyn's Eilis that touched her so deeply. I was hesitant to introduce myself to this heroine's world as I was less than enthusiastic about my first experience with Colm Toibin, "Sleep", a story in The New Yorker. But I trusted my cousin.
... And I loved the story! It is as if Mr. Toibin follows a young girl from Ireland to Brooklyn, and back again, and merely puts to paper what he sees and hears. There is no narrator "guessing" as to what is in the heroine's head - the author sees how she changes within a situation and, with simplicity, reports it to the reader. Such a style creates a true intimacy that is not often felt with a character. Often we are forced to connect with plot alone, but here? Here we become closer to Eilis than many we feel connected to in our own lives.
This is a love story - of family, of land, of a man and a woman, of faith, of life... And I will admit there were times I was frustrated with Eilis and her decisions, her actions, and her silences. I was held in her grip until the last sentence.
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_%28novel%29