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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
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TransAtlantic (2013)

by Colum McCann

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9711428,879 (4.12)289
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Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
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 |
There is the woeful problem of reading a fine book at the wrong time. I kept reaching for my other books even though when I did pick up this one I read along contentedly. Yet except for opening story of Brown and Alcock and Lily's story I wasn't urgently pulled in most of the time. Now I know some among my LT friends here were appalled by the fragmented sentences, but I wasn't aware every second of finding them directly annoying, however I wonder if it had the effect of making it a tiring read? Do incomplete sentences leave a question mark in the air? Who can say? It is a fine, intense, deeply researched novel. I'm a sucker for this kind of intertwining and the literary device of using an object, in this case a letter, passed along from generation to generation, to connect disparate lives together over a span of time. Literary version of the 5 degrees of separation? Best moment? When Manyaki picks up a little crumb fallen off the ancient envelope and eats it. Brilliant!!!!! **** ( )
  sibyx | Jun 10, 2015 |
Great audio of this interwoven story---so much detail, especially of George Mitchell---it made me wonder what he would think of himself in this book. I wished there was just a little bit more at the end. ( )
  nyiper | Jun 5, 2015 |
Long, dense, with flashes of brilliance. I have to agree with the reviewer who questioned the use of sentence fragments: rhythmically, this felt a bit like hacking through woods with a machete, and for no reason that I could really follow. McCann wanted to get so much in here that maybe it was just expedience, shorthand. Still it's an important, ambitious book, aiming high and sometimes achieving it. Women rightly hold the story together and ground it, but Douglass is also insightfully drawn. At its best, one gets the sense of the multitude of meanings flickering back and forth over the water over many years, which sometimes seems to justify its structure and length. All that said, it's hard not to love someone who loves people and history so much. ( )
  wreichard | Apr 24, 2015 |
It took a long time to work out the somewhat tenuous connection between the different time frames and historical events in this book. McCann is a lyrical writer, his words are evocative, his characters are fully rounded, but I found myself impatient to get to the end of the book from about half-way through. It just didn't hold my interest. ( )
  earthsinger | Apr 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (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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Epigraph
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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