TransAtlantic

TransAtlantic

by Colum McCann
4.0 63

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Transatlantic: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a complex book spanning multiple characters and multiple continents. The writing is rich and inviting. The navigation of jumping from character to character is done with ease. This is a writer who knows how to entertain an audience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Colum McCann is a brilliant author. The way he tells stories that span 150 years and yet does so in a way that is easy to follow and understand it amazing. I loved this book.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Four stories are interwoven in this novel of escaping the boundaries of earth and soaring to a peaceful yet ecstatic state of mind and soul.  Yet this is the stuff of history so often given noble status and sometimes just ignored as a cog in a wheel.  Colum McCann gives all equally dignified and seminal status! First we read about the first flight in 1919 from England to Ireland of Arthur Brown and his transatlantic team, flying a former bomber plane used in the First World War.  One carries a letter that never gets delivered but will show up years and years later to be given dubious recognition.   Then we meet Frederick Douglass who arrives in Ireland in 1845 and again in 1846 to speak and listen about the emancipation of slavery while he observes the beginning of the Great Famine and the hatred between Ireland and England over the fight for Irish independence.  The story of George Mitchell’s diplomatic quest in 1998 for Irish Independence is told from multiple perspectives, but it’s mainly Mitchell’s perseverance and frustration that stands out vividly in a cause with so many points of view and demands that it’s mind-boggling.  It feels hopeless yet Mitchell never gives up hope, even as he truly yearns to be home in America with his wife and infant son.  One young woman is inspired by Frederick Douglass’s eloquent speech about freedom and her story is the multigenerational story told for the last portion of the novel.  This is a story about women whose strength is what forges great nations behind the scenes and beyond the ephemeral talk and ideas of politicians, poets and storytellers themselves. It takes a bit of time before one begins to connect the dots in this very fine historical and contemporary novel.  It’s truly a timeless classic work of fiction presented in a highly literate yet readable style.  While it doesn’t brook foolish theories or deny the negative aspects of people or issues, it dreams larger than the muck it seeks to surmount.  For that it deserves great praise and high recommendations!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the mix of fiction and nonfiction together. The author is a master of blending the two to great effect. Two thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going to read this again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author Colum McCann delivers a masterpiece. The story spans 150 years and many characters who are linked in various ways - as revealed as the book goes on. The writing is brilliant. The characters are interesting to get to know.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
There is a shock of pleasure midway into this novel when one realizes three disparate stories of courageous, capable men on two continents are connected through the women they’ve known. The stories of these brave men are delicious vignettes to be supped upon at leisure…there is no bustle and rush as one story ends and another begins, each as delectable as the last, but that thread of connection is the mystery we struggle to untangle throughout. Arthur Brown, one of the first transatlantic flight team; Frederick Douglass, former slave and speaker for emancipation; George Mitchell, principal negotiator for Northern Ireland’s peace accords: these men have a faint connection over 150 years and that connection is an unopened, undelivered airmail letter that accompanied that the flight crew on their 1919 ground-breaking flight. The prose seems to match the stories: when we read of the transatlantic flight, the writing is muscular, propulsive. When Douglass visits the Irish countryside, there is a smoky wistfulness clinging to the pages. And in the section on George Mitchell flying back and forth to Europe from New York, we read the sheer effort in the lines. The novel then reveals the women that have touched these men, and by weaving in their lives the underlying links are uncovered. It brought to mind the theory of “six degrees of separation” and how closely, yet loosely, we all revolve around one another on the planet. If ever you doubted the reason for “treating another as you wish to be treated,” this is another glimpse into our intimate connection with one another, years and continents apart notwithstanding. I have not read other works by Colum McCann, though I have of course heard of the much-lauded Let the Great World Spin. That book alone is reason enough to be interested in this novel—to see what the man has come up with now. But I can’t help but think this new novel didn’t quite pull together great truths or leave us with something to cogitate and remember as the years roll on. Somehow literature, or the work of great novelists, should leave us something to consider, to remember, to use in our own lives. If there was anything here, it would be that connectedness—how close we are despite the distance, despite the years—but perhaps there could have been something more to round out the effort of writing (and reading) a long book. Of course, when one picks real-world figures, one is somewhat constrained by their history, but perhaps it wasn’t necessary to make them living men, just as the women were constructions to suit the work. When I read fiction I assume the writer is not strictly truthful, so placing a real figure in the piece makes the reader question both veracity and the lack of it. Perhaps this is one point? In any case, I can recommend this book to writers and readers for its organizing concept alone. There is something magical about tracing a thread of connection, however tenuous, over a century or more. It makes an intriguing premise for a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautfully written  Fully realized characters.  Real women.  Takes you to Ireland from your sofa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully rich prose blended with historical fiction. Great read.
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upstaterAP More than 1 year ago
Loved the way the world and the decades became small as I read what was essentially a family saga with roots in Ireland. Helpful to know when starting to read that the threads will ultimately connect. Nice on the Nook because when I lose track of a character I can just review with the Find. feature. The section on Frederick Douglass was fascinating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
60143pbr More than 1 year ago
A several generations saga set for the most part in Ireland. From the era of slavery to the beginnings of aviation it tells quite the history. There is also a "mysterious" letter through the years that, once opened, would make a way for a new family history.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so boring and is only the third book I have ever stopped reading without finishing it. About the time I would get into one of the stories, the chapter would end and a new one would begin. I hated this format.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book but not as much as my Irish friends. The part about George Mitchell was fascinating. It was an interesting book - just not one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt finish the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About as slow as a turtle in mud. Needed more narrative and less, detailed, pinpoint description. Also I figured the three story lines would intersect but when they did, a let down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rach082413 More than 1 year ago
I heard a lot of great things about this book, but I had to put it down - the no quotes thing is really annoying me and I just can't get into it. Sad I wasted the money to buy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago