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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 20, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

    Brooklyn musings

    Fiona McCann

    Disclaimer: The following my ruin the ending for those of you who have not read Colm Tóibín’s latest, Brooklyn. So move along all folks to whom that applies – nothing to see here.

    As for the rest of you, there’s been plenty of talk about the merits or otherwise, but here’s what I want to know: should she have stayed or gone back? Discuss, using relevant quotation or reference.

    • Sinéad says:

      Eilis is one of the biggest procrastinators in literary history – she’d give Hamlet a run for his money.

      In relation to her fate, she repeatedly (and irritatingly) says things like “I don’t want to think about that now”. She is the ultimate long-fingerer, but it catches up with her in the end, because she doesn’t get to make the decision herself, it’s ultimately made by someone else.

      To answer your question, because of the scene with Miss Kelly, she HAS to go back, but I was rooting for her to stay. Jim was a better match for her, and it would have made her mother deliriously happy. It felt like several people, not just Eilis, lost out in the end.

    • Fiona says:

      Sinead: She is so UNBEARABLY passive! You’re right about the Miss Kelly thing, but it just angered me how she handled the whole thing. My heart was breaking for Tony, but you are right that Jim was a better match in so many ways. Still, she should never have let it get that far – eejit. I really felt sorry for her mother too, and for Tony, oblivious in the States and worrying (justifyably) about her never coming back. Still, I did relate to her sense of things happening in two parallel universes – that experience of being abroad, and of it feeling like two separate worlds, where one has nothing to do with the other.

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