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03-Oct-2017 10:50

And it is in the banal, familiar details that his writing is at its strongest.Eilis’s pangs of homesickness are touchingly real and so is her struggle to reconcile different sets of social expectations: American openness and Irish respectability.

Posted by Jim on December 15, 2017 “All of the participants in 1916 had come to perceive and recoil from what was a constant theme in the assumptions of the imperialist mind: that those dominated in any colony such as Ireland were lesser in human terms, in language, culture and politics.

President Michael D Higgins said: “What we sought was an appropriate and permanent tribute to the women and men whose effort and sacrifice contributed so much to Irish freedom and a symbol that would also serve as an inspiration towards realising the promise of a true republic, which remains a challenge for us all.

“I hope that what we have achieved with this commemorative work is a fitting tribute to the memory and vision of the signatories of the Proclamation, and all those who stood with them.

By contrast, when the story touches on grand events – when Eilis finds her night school teacher is a European Jew who lost his family in the camps; when she has to start selling darker coloured nylons to the new black clientele moving into Brooklyn – it feels forced and bland, as though Tóibín is acknowledging an obligation to chronicle these things.

Conviction flags elsewhere when she returns home to an emotional situation that isn’t properly fleshed out.

Then, the opportunity arises of a job in America, arranged by a priest, Father Flood, with whom Rose has played golf.