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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
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TransAtlantic (2013)

by Colum McCann

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1,3871548,122 (4.04)342
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» See also 342 mentions

English (155)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (158)
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
I love the way McCann writes, even though I don't always love what he is writing about. In this novel we have intertwined stories all related in some way to Ireland and a young woman named Lily Duggan and her descendants. The story jumps back and forth in time, which, for me, sometimes worked really well, and sometimes seemed forced. Some characters are real and their stories are based on either historical documents or interviews. Others are fictional. Oddly the fictional characters felt less fully developed and interesting to me. That does not seem to make sense as the author should have been able to more fully flesh out his own invented characters, and yet, those are the characters that felt the least interesting to me. I found the descriptions of the scenes of the famine horrific and so well done, same for the mentions of slavery - brief, yet brutal and haunting. On the other hand the scenes in Ireland that take place near the end of the novel I found endless and not particularly interesting, although they did wrap thing up. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
This book is McCann's imagining of what happened during Frederick Douglass's exile in Ireland--his thoughts, the thoughts of the maid in the house where he stayed, the thoughts of his supporters and various polititians, along with a parallel story of a family in the midst of the troubles, in a cottage in Ireland. McCann is such a lyrical writer. It's interesting, however, that I remember the Frederick Douglas parts much more clearly than the contemporary Ireland parts. Shameful, perhaps, to admit. ( )
  deckla | Jul 15, 2018 |
TransAtlantic started with a very intriguing plot and characters, then moved away from the author's beautiful words until the Senator surfaced,
and left readers with an ending that seemed like it would never end and a lot of unpleasant images. ( )
  m.belljackson | Feb 2, 2018 |
The writing was powerful and beautiful, and I liked the slow revelation of how the apparently disparate threads and lives are linked. However - I found the brutality and violence too distressing, and was also irritated by too many descriptive scenes that didn't go anywhere (some are OK, just too many for my taste). Eventually, I just wanted to get through the book so I can put it away. The letter was also an interesting idea, but not convinced that it worked. All in all, I think an interesting and powerful book, but just not for me. ( )
  emanate28 | Jan 6, 2018 |
Loved this novel by McCann, which interweaves stories of Frederick Douglass, the first men to cross the Atlantic by plane, and George Mitchell, the US senator who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland. The novel follows a family of women--mothers, daughters, and granddaughters--as they interact with these great men of history. A beautifully written and bittersweet tale. It reminded me a little of Middlemarch, at the end, the idea that history is made up of people whose contributions we too easily forget. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 155 (next | show all)
"But a book as ambitious and wide-ranging as this is bound to be a little inconsistent, and its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses."
added by bookfitz | editNew York Times, Erica Wagner (Jun 20, 2013)
 
"His new novel, TransAtlantic, likewise dramatises Irish-American encounters, and once again features elements of nonfiction, and a gravity-defying central metaphor."
added by bookfitz | editThe Guardian, Theo Tait (Jun 1, 2013)
 
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)
 
"A masterful and profoundly moving novel that employs exquisite language to explore the limits of language and the tricks of memory."
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 15, 2013)
 
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Epigraph
No history is mute. No matter howmuch they own
it, break it, and lie about it, human history refuses to
shut its mouth. Despite deafness and ignorance, the
time that was continues to tick inside the time that is.

-Eduardo Galeano
Dedication
This novel is dedicated to Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
For Allison, and Isabella too.
And, of course, for Brendan Bourke.
First words
The cottage sat at the edge of the lough.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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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