Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Andrea K. says that the "only disappointment in this book is that it had to end."

In the National Book Award–winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann thrilled readers with a marvelous high-wire act of fiction that The New York Times Book Review called “an emotional tour de force.” Now McCann demonstrates once again why he is one of the most acclaimed and essential authors of his generation with a soaring novel that spans continents, leaps centuries, and unites a cast of deftly rendered characters, both real and imagined.

Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.

Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.

New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.

These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novel follows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in the present-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures of previous generations live on. From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands of Missouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.

The most mature work yet from an incomparable storyteller, TransAtlantic is a profound meditation on identity and history in a wide world that grows somehow smaller and more wondrous with each passing year.

Read an interview with the author HERE.

Andrea K. says:
"'It is one of their beauties, the Irish, the way they crush and expand the language all at once.  How they mangle it and revere it.  How they even color their silences.  A fluent menace.'

This quote is from National Book award winner (Let the Great World Spin) Colum McCann, in his new book Transatlantic. The same quote can apply to McCann's vibrant prose as he describes the events in his luminous new book.   McCann takes three real life events--the first Atlantic crossing by plane, American orator Frederick Douglass' visit to Ireland in 1845, and U.S. Senator George Mitchell's negotiations for the Good Friday Peace accords--and weaves them into the story of an Irish-American family through the generations.   An Irish maid heads to America in hopes of a new life, only to have her descendants eventually return to the land of her birth.  In all the stories, people leave and yearn for home, lives are born and lost, dreams are hoped for, but may or may not be fulfilled.

McCann exceeds the expectations raised by Let the Great World Spin, and Transatlantic no doubt will bring him even more praise and awards.  Your only disappointment in this book is that it had to end."

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