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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

TransAtlantic (2013)

by Colum McCann

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1,0151488,419 (4.11)301
Recently added byvwinsloe, private library, ndrose, deckehoe, ruud, beckyface, AR_bookbird
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Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Colum McCann has a knack for portraying the inner thoughts and workings of historical figures. Sentence fragments. Noun blocks. This tendency of writers nowadays (David Peace, David Mitchell, McCann in this book) to write in short descriptive bursts is getting to be a little grating. Mitchell is obviously an influence here too. It's an interesting read but I'd recommend This Side of Brightness and Let The Great World Spin ahead of it. ( )
  deckehoe | Nov 27, 2015 |
With Transatlantic Colum McCann foremostly proves himself as a writer of novellas, but as a novel Transatlantic is too aenemic. Contemporary literary criticism recognizes the fact that the concept of "the novel" and "the novella" are constructs which do not have absolute, or even very clear demarcations. Particularly post-modern writers tend to seek the frontiers of the genre, and mix or b(l)end genre. Besides, the designation "novel" or "novella" seems to be a strategic decision of the publisher, as in the eye of the reader, i.e. the consumer, a novel has more prestige than a novella. However, it would have been more true to present Transatlantic as a collection of four novellas.

Regarding Transatlantic as a collection of novellas would solve the problem of the loose structure of the novel. While all parts of the book are related because they have a link connecting the United States and Ireland across the Atlantic, the link is too weak to suggest that Transatlantic is a novel, and in calling the book a novel, the reader feels strained to look for an over-arching story and coherent pattern of meaning, where there is none.

Colum McCann writes well, but the four parts of the book are little engaging, and therefore the "novel" as a whole is unsatisfactory. The story of Frederick Douglass visiting Ireland in the 1840s is the most interesting and engaging, but even each part of the novel lacks depth to stand on its own. Transatlantic is clearly a pile of undigested material. Reading it is frustrating and a waste of time. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 14, 2015 |
The "TransAtlantic" of the title is the connecting link between each of the vignettes tracing the generations of one matriarchal line set against historical backdrops and characters. The story actually begins in the middle, then drops back picking up the characters at important points along the way, but not in chronological order.

By the end of the book it became clear why the author chose to structure the story in this way, though on the downside, I never truly connected with any of the characters because of the way in which it was structured. Also, a death which might have had much more emotional content didn't because his death had already been revealed in an earlier bit.

This novel has received outstanding reviews. It was well written, poignant. But the structure did prevent me from feeling a real sense of connection to the story and characters. ( )
  cfk | Aug 14, 2015 |
A great novel. Perhaps not as great as Let the Great World Spin', but what is? ( )
  lanceparkin | Jul 21, 2015 |
Another great book by Colum McCann. He really seems to found a niche in telling stories that unfurl as new characters are introduced. Where "Let the Great World Spin" focuses on a kaleidoscope of characters passing through the same place at the same time, "TransAtlantic" follows a string of seemingly unrelated characters through the years to a common connection. ( )
  jscape2000 | Jun 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: McCann’s stunning sixth novel is a brilliant tribute to his loamy, lyrical and complicated Irish homeland, and an ode to the ties that, across time and space, bind Ireland and America. The book begins with three transatlantic crossings, each a novella within a novel: Frederick Douglas’s 1845 visit to Ireland; the 1919 flight of British aviators Alcock and Brown; and former US senator George Mitchell’s 1998 attempt to mediate peace in Northern Ireland. ... The language is lush, urgent, chiseled and precise; sometimes languid, sometimes kinetic. At times, it reads like poetry, or a dream. Choppy sentences. Two-word declaratives. Arranged into stunning, jagged tableaux. Bleak, yet hopeful. ... The finale is a melancholy set piece that ties it all together... McCann reminds us that life is hard, and it is a wonder, and there is hope. --Neal Thompson
added by JSWBooks | editAmazon.com, Neal Thompson (pay site) (Jun 1, 2013)
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Geen enkele geschiedenis is sprakeloos.
Hoezeer ook geannexeerd, gebroken en belogen,
de menselijke geschiedenis weigert haar mond te houden.
Ondanks doofheid en onwetendheid blijft de tijd die was,
tikken binnen de tijd die is.

-Eduardo Galeano
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De cottage stond aan de rand van het meer.
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A tale spanning 150 years and two continents reimagines the peace efforts of democracy champion Frederick Douglass, Senator George Mitchell and World War I airmen John Alcock and Teddy Brown through the experiences of four generations of women from a matriarchal clan.… (more)

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