By Danielle Zhu
Updated February 25, 2016 at 12:50 PM EST

Brooklyn (Book)

  • Book

Before the film Brooklyn captured viewers’ hearts and earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, it was Colm Tóibín’s moving novel that resonated with readers.

Brooklyn — which was longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize — tells the story of young Eilis Lacey, who moves from Ireland to New York in the early 1950s. While struggling to adapt to a new, foreign place on her own, she meets and falls in love with Tony. But when events force her to return back home, she must decide what she wants for her future.

Below are the most highlighted Kindle passages from Brooklyn, according to Amazon:

  • “She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything.”
  • “They knew so much, each one of them, she thought, that they could do everything except say out loud what it was they were thinking.”

  • “Some people are nice,” she said, “and if you talk to them properly, they can be even nicer.”

  • “None of them could help her. She had lost all of them. They would not find out about this; she would not put it into a letter. And because of this she understood that they would never know her now. Maybe, she thought, they had never known her, any of them, because if they had, then they would have had to realize what this would be like for her.”

  • “Even though she let these thoughts run as fast as they would, she still stopped when her mind moved towards real fear or dread or, worse, towards the thought that she was going to lose this world for ever, that she would never have an ordinary day again in this ordinary place, that the rest of her life would be a struggle with the unfamiliar.”

  • “And then it occurred to her that she was already feeling that she would need to remember this room, her sister, this scene, as though from a distance. In the silence that had lingered, she realized, it had somehow been tacitly arranged that Eilis would go to America. Father Flood, she believed, had been invited to the house because Rose knew that he could arrange it.”

  • “She has gone back to Brooklyn,” her mother would say. And, as the train rolled past Macmine Bridge on its way towards Wexford, Eilis imagined the years ahead, when these words would come to mean less and less to the man who heard them and would come to mean more and more to herself. She almost smiled at the thought of it, then closed her eyes and tried to imagine nothing more.”

  • “She found herself thanking him in a tone that Rose might have used, a tone warm and private but also slightly distant though not shy either, a tone used by a woman in full possession of herself. It was something she could not have done in the town or in a place where any of her family or friends might have seen her.”

  • “What she would need to do in the days before she left and on the morning of her departure was smile, so that they would remember her smiling.”

  • “She wished now that she had not married him, not because she did not love him and intend to return to him, but because not telling her mother or her friends made every day she had spent in America a sort of fantasy, something she could not match with the time she was spending at home. It made her feel strangely as though she were two people, one who had battled against two cold winters and many hard days in Brooklyn and fallen in love there, and the other who was her mother’s daughter, the Eilis whom everyone knew, or thought they knew.”

Brooklyn (Book)

  • Book
  • Colm Toibin
  • Scribner