Enniscorthy, Ireland, 1951. Young Eilis Lacey does not really want to leave her birthplace and go to New York, but it's the wish of her mother and sister, and Eilis is an obedient girl. After a ghastly sea voyage and a fight against nostalgia in a boarding house, Eilis tentatively begins to feel more at home in her unwanted exile when she meets an Italian-American young man. Then a stroke of fate summons her back to Ireland, and she faces a choice between the old life and the new. Colm Tóibín, one of Ireland's finest authors, has written a powerful story about courage, family, love and momentous decisions. At the end of the course we shall watch the brilliant film version with Saoirse Ronan.
Participants are requested to read parts of the text at home as preparation for the discussion in class.