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LONG ISLAND
LONG ISLAND

'Long Island' is the highly anticipated sequel to Colm Tóibín’s “Brooklyn” picking up the story 20 years later and once again delving into the lives of Eilis Lacey, Tony Fiorello and Jim Farrell. Den readers will be excited to learn that it doesn’t disappoint.

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Readability

★★★★★★★★★✰

Talkability

★★★★★★★★✰✰

Den scores

★★★★★★★★★✰

LONG ISLAND

BY COLM TÒIBÍN

304 Pages

'Long Island' is the highly anticipated sequel to Colm Tóibín’s “Brooklyn” published in 2009 (and a pre-requisite read - see July’s Missed Opportunity). Picking up the story 20 years later, we once again delve into the lives of Eilis Lacey, Tony Fiorello and Jim Farrell and Den readers will be excited to learn it doesn’t disappoint.

The opening of 'Long Island' is first rate. It’s now the 1970s and Eilis is living in the States with her husband Tony, two teenage children and their extended Italian catholic family in neighbouring houses on their purchased land in Long Island. It’s a close knit, often suffocating environment with compulsory long family lunches taking place every Sunday. Without giving too much away, Eilis receives an unexpected visit destined to have far reaching consequences for her and her family if she doesn’t act. In order to have her demands at least considered by Tony’s family, she decides to leave America and return home to Enniscorthy for her mother’s 80th birthday, going ahead before her children Larry and Rosella will join her for the summer to enable them to spend time with the grandmother they have never met. Inevitably Eilis is drawn back into the world of her upbringing and what she’s left behind. Her visit coincides with the marriage of the daughter of her closest school friend Nancy, which predictably brings old relationships and unfinished business to the fore.

As with 'Brooklyn', Tóibín’s skill seems to be ‘less is more’. Again misalignment, poor timing, and the ‘unsaid’ drives his narrative building up to a shattering finale. It's a gem of read, which can almost be read in one sitting as we are once again drawn into the world of Eilis Lacey and what path her life will take, the difference being that older, wiser and with a family of her own she has an inner steely determination to look out for herself and them. After the success of the film of 'Brooklyn' starring Saoirse Ronan, surely there will be a film sequel too!

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