Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Every year I vow I'm going to read more of the Booker short list and every year I fail to do so: here's one reason why everyone should be reading from that list.
Toibin's portrait of Eilis, an Irish girl in a small town with few prospects (for her or the town) is one of those quiet books - no great action sequences, just an ordinary person going about her ordinary life. Her sister arranges for her to go to America, to Brooklyn, and Eilis rather meekly goes; when her sister dies, Eilis goes back to Ireland. It was surprising to me that she actually does return to Brooklyn and her life in America, because she really is a very passive person.
The part of Brooklyn she lives and works in is the area I lived in, and the changes from the 50s (Irish) through the early 90s (still rather Italian, but more yuppies moving in) were interesting. I also liked the way the integration of the Fulton Mall area was handled.