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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

TransAtlantic (2013)

by Colum McCann

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,4201578,082 (4.03)344
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» See also 344 mentions

English (158)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
This is the first book I have read by this author. He came to speak at our Author, Author night in our town, so I wanted to read something by him before the event. It was a good story and since I have been to Northern Ireland and I am Irish American, I could relate to the stories he told. He was an engaging speaker and we all had a good time with him answering questions and telling even more stories. I will read his other books as soon as I can. ( )
  Katyefk | Feb 23, 2019 |
Short stories all in a sudden become a book. Very smart. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Nov 22, 2018 |
A series of interlocked stories that connect generations, peoples, struggles, and achievements. Some landscapes and characters are so vividly imagined and well-described they stand apart from the rest of the book, bring the reader along a route of flats and peaks to occasional "scenic vista" moments. There is an uneasy tension between the authentic yet fictionally archetypal female characters' experience of the world and each other. ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
I will readily confess that the choppy writing style put me off when I began the book. I briefly entertained thoughts of just putting it aside and moving on, but the bit of story intrigued me. I'm glad I continued. The story is a bunch of little pieces, some of which interested me more than others, but which overall are very well done and greatly captured my interest. Initially I was caught up in the first story of the first tranatlantic crossing by air in 1919 of Alcock and Brown from Newfoundland to Ireland. And then the story jumps back in time quite a few years. It goes back, to Frederick Douglass and an extended trip to Ireland in 1845-46. This "middle section" of the first part of the book is extraordinary and we witness his growth and transformation as well as his arrival at the time of the beginning of the great famine of Ireland in 1845.

Then begins the third part of the book dealing with US Senator George Mitchell and it filled me in on a man and the peace accords in our times (20 years past now), but just a little. And, for whatever reason, just not as inspiring. It did seem a bit overlong and drawn out compared to the rest of the book, but that part of the story which would seem to have a lot to work with just didn't impress. Once the Mitchell part began we could see the start of the thread that would bind this together. The book continues from the three initial pieces and delivered a well done story although some parts were more than a little painful to read. Overall I really liked this.

This isn't a conventional novel. Recommended. ( )
  RBeffa | Nov 12, 2018 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (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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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
This novel is dedicated to Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
For Allison, and Isabella too.
And, of course, for Brendan Bourke.
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The cottage sat at the edge of the lough.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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