21 April 2016, The Tablet

Over the water

by Julian Margaret Gibbs

 

Brooklyn
Colm Tóibín, read by Niamh Cusack

It is the early fifties and Eilis lives in south-west Ireland with her widowed mother and older sister Rose. Life is narrow: she works as a part-time assistant in the grocery shop of the tyrannical Miss Kelly and her brothers have had to go to England for jobs. But Rose brings an American priest home for tea who promises Eilis work in Brooklyn. Knowing that her sister is offering her opportunities she won’t herself be able to take – as the only sibling with a job in Ireland, Rose will always live with their mother, relinquishing her chance of marriage – Eilis feels compelled to go.

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