Brooklyn is one of Colm Tóibín's most popular and best-known works. Published in 2009, it achieved both critical and commercial success. It was translated into 22 languages, and sold more than a quarter of a million copies. It was longlisted for the 2009 Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It won the 2009 Costa Novel Award. In 2012, it was dubbed one of "The 10 Best Historical Novels" by The Observer.
It is also among his most personal works. The novel is set in his hometown of Enniscorthy in the years of his early childhood. What is not based in his experience relies largely on that of aunts, who were in the same generation as protagonist Eilis and even worked at the same mill Rose works for in the book. The novel is an attempt by Tóibín to explore his own family history, especially after the deaths of his aunts. For the parts of the novel set in Brooklyn, he did much research, and particularly drew on an oral history project which interviewed Brooklyn residents in the 1950s.
In 2015, the novel was adapted for film by screenwriter Nick Hornby. The film was directed by John Crowley and starred Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, and Emory Cohen. It went on to garner three Academy Award Nominations, six British Academy Film Award Nominations, and one Golden Globe Nomination. It won the British Academy Film Award for Best British Film.