28+ quotes from Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Quotes from Brooklyn

Colm Tóibín ·  262 pages

Rating: (74.4K votes)


“Some people are nice and if you talk to them properly, they can be even nicer." -Rose”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“She felt almost guilty that she had handed some of her grief to him, and then she felt close to him for his willingness to take it and hold it, in all its rawness, all its dark confusion.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“She has gone back to Brooklyn,' her mother would say. And, as the train rolled past Macmire Bridge on its way towards Wexford, Eilis imagined the years already 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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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. The rooms in the house on Friary Street belonged to her, she thought; when she moved in them she was really there. In the town, if she walked to the shop or to the Vocational School, the air, the light, the ground, it was all solid and part of her, even if she met no one familiar. Nothing here was part of her. It was false, empty, she thought. She closed her eyes and tried to think, as she had done so many times in her life, of something she was looking forward to, but there was nothing. Not the slightest thing. Not even Sunday. Nothing maybe except sleep, and she was not even certain she was looking forward to sleep. In any case, she could not sleep yet, since it was not yet nine o’clock. There was nothing she could do. It was as though she had been locked away.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“In the morning, she was not sure that she had slept as much as lived a set of vivid dreams, letting them linger so that she would not have to open her eyes and see the room.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“She thought it was strange that the mere sensation of savouring the prospect of something could make her think for a while that is must be the prospect of home.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“We keep our prices low and our manners high. -Miss Bartocci”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“She closed her eyes and tried to think, as she had done so many times in her life, of something she was looking forward to, but there was nothing. Not the slightest thing. Not even Sunday. Nothing maybe except sleep, and she was not even certain she was looking forward to sleep. In any case, she could not sleep yet, since it was not yet nine o’clock. There was nothing she could do. It was as though she had been locked away. In”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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. *”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Now, she felt that she was being singled out for something for which she was not in any way prepared, and this, despite the fear it carried with it, gave her a feeling, or more a set of feelings, she thought she might experience in the days before her wedding, days in which everyone looked at her in the rush of arrangements with light in their eyes, days in which she herself was fizzy with excitement but careful not to think too precisely about what the next few weeks would be like in case she lost her nerve.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“As they sat at the table, she did not like the girls talking among themselves, or discussing matters she knew nothing about, and she did not encourage any mention of boyfriends. She was mainly interested in clothes and shoes, and where they could be bought and at what price and at what time of the year. Changing fashions and new trends were her daily topic, although she herself, as she often pointed out, was too old for some of the new colours and styles. Yet, Eilis saw, she dressed impeccably and noticed every item each of her lodgers was wearing. She also loved discussing skin care and different types of skin and problems. Mrs. Kehoe had her hair done once a week, on a Saturday, using the same hairdresser each time, spending several hours with her so that her hair would be perfect for the rest of the week.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Eilis was fascinated by [...] his sweet duplicity in giving no sign of what had happened before. She was almost glad to know that he had secrets and had ways of calmly keeping them.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“If you don’t make mistakes, they’ll notice you and they’ll get to like you,’ she added. Eilis”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“For a while she was quietly resigned to the prospect that nothing would change, but she did not know what the consequences would be, or what form they would take.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Eilis replied to say that it was not just Mrs Kehoe, who was not in any way extravagant, it was everyone in America, they all kept their heating on all night. As”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“What she loved most about America, Eilis thought on these mornings, was how the heating was kept on all night.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“in this waking time his presence, once so solid, lacked any substance or form; it was merely a shadow at the edge of every moment of the day and night.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Carefully, she went back up the stairs and found that if she moved along the first landing she would be able to see him from above. Somehow, she thought, if she could look at him, take him in clearly when he was not trying to amuse her or impress her, something would come to her, some knowledge, or some ability to make a decision.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“I have,’ Georgina said. ‘I go home once a year to see my mam. It’s a lot of suffering for a week. By the time I’ve recovered I have to go back. But I love seeing them all. We’re not getting any younger, any of us, so it’s nice to spend a week together.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Time and patience would bring a snail to America,' he repeated.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“Tony was so wrapped up in the game that it gave her a chance to let her thoughts linger on him, float towards him, noting how different from her he was in every way. The idea that he would never see her as she felt that she saw him now came to her as an infinite relief, as a satisfactory solution to things.”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“New people arrive and they could be Jewish or Irish or Polish or even coloured. Our old customers are moving out to Long Island and we can't follow them, so we need new customers every week. We treat everyone the same. We welcome every single person who comes into this store”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


“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. She”
― Colm Tóibín, quote from Brooklyn


About the author

Colm Tóibín
Born place: in Enniscorthy, Ireland
Born date May 30, 1955
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