I suppose Tólibín is capable of writing something boring, but I haven’t encountered it yet. Every book, every collection of short stories, is engaging in its own way. Even a novel about Henry James is interesting and enlightening.
This book is about a young girl who leaves Ireland at the invitation of a friendly priest who promises her a job and a place to stay. The work is hard and the place is not what Eilis would have chosen. Gradually she becomes accustomed to the strangeness. Her supervisor at work and her landlady recognize her quality, and help her. She takes classes at night college to improve her chance at advancement.
There is a return to Ireland after the death of a relative, and Eilis put off the return to America until she becomes entangled with a young man who would have her stay. I wondered which way she would go, until she make her final decision.
The ending came rather abruptly and surprised me at first. After re-reading it several times, it began to make sense and I accepted it. This book is for everyone who enjoys good writing and surprising twists and turns.