by Colm Toibin
“In the US there would be plenty of work for someone like you, and with good pay.”
It is Ireland in the early 1950s, and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So, when Father Flood speaks of a job in New York, Eilis knows she must go.
Living in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis is far from home – and homesick. Yet, after taking her first tentative steps towards friendship, and perhaps something more, Eilis thinks she might find happiness. Until bad news sends her back to Ireland: she finds herself drawn back into the life she left behind. A terrible dilemma awaits her – a devastating choice between duty and love.
Sandra and Andrew discuss the novel, focussing on the characters, locations, the themes of emigration and culture shock, as well as the structure of the novel. They compare the novel with the 2015 film, and play music associated with Irish emigration and 1950s America.