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TransAtlantic Cover

ISBN13: 9781400069590
ISBN10: 1400069599
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.


“This novel is beautifully hypnotic in its movements, from the grand (between two continents, across three centuries) to the most subtle. Silkily threading together public events and private feelings, TransAtlantic says no to death with every line.” Emma Donoghue

About the Author

Colum McCann is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Let the Great World Spin, Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as two critically acclaimed story collections. His fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. He has received many honors, including the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, and the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Award in Memory of Princess Grace. He has been named one of Esquire’s “Best & Brightest,” and his short film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing Program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

barbjg, October 29, 2013 (view all comments by barbjg)

To say I enjoyed it would be a vast understatement- his prose is beautiful, conjuring the moments, portraying them perfectly. The story is intriguing and flows naturally. I so loved this book that upon finishing it I actually cried "no" when finding no more pages to turn! I'm off to get a copy McCann's earlier book today.
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universalmusiq, October 6, 2013 (view all comments by universalmusiq)
McCann's writing is fantastic. Flawless and beautiful and fabulous to read. But the stories in TransAtlantic tend to drag. For me the one that held the most power was the first with the two pilots handling the first transatlantic flight. From there all the stories that come around are woven together as time passes but some have greater holds than others. A lot of what goes on after the first story is internal conflicts bordering on external conflicts that have happened.

A fine read but readers may not be as enthralled with the characters when getting at them from the surface.
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Bethany Dotson, March 19, 2013 (view all comments by Bethany Dotson)
I received an ARC for this at request because I absolutely loved the last Colum McCann I read, which was Let the Great World Spin. There's no doubt about it, this guy knows how to write.

Transatlantic is composed of individual sections that are linked by the women in them--sometimes the women are the major characters, sometimes the minor characters. They travel back and forth across the Atlantic to/from North America & Ireland.

Every chapter is set in a different time & place from the early 1800′s to the 1970′s ( 1845-46, Ireland; 1919, Newfoundland), and each is written from a different viewpoint. Only two chapters are NOT written from the viewpoint of a woman, which is an interesting choice on McCann’s part, seeing as in Let the Great World Spin I think there was only one section from a woman’s viewpoint�"correct me if I’m wrong. The majority of the time it sounded authentic�"only once or twice did I stop and think wait, what gender of person is supposed to be narrating this? Because this sounds like a man.

It took me about halfway through the book to see the connecting female line, which could just mean that I'm slow. I was pretty frustrated for the first half as to WHAT the heck was going on…because seriously, the first cross-Atlantic flight & Frederick Douglass do not really go together. & then when I figured out the women thing (b/c they are both VERY minor participants in the first couple sections) I was like….ohhhhhh.

The only beef that I had with this book is that McCann has one sentence structure and he sticks with it. Through the whole book. I wanted to scream. Bloody murder. And throw the book. Possibly across the room. After 50 pages.

You get the idea. To be honest, it's not so jarring for most of the book, but there are several sections where it's just unbearable. Other than that, McCann's writing is lyrical, evocative, all those good things.

Anyway, four stars out of five for some beautiful writing, clever plotting�"but really obnoxious sentence structure. If you’re going for a we’re-all-connected novel, I think I prefer The Illusion of Separateness (by Simon Van Booy), which (although the title could be improved upon) did it better, in my opinion.
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Product Details

McCann, Colum
Random House
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:

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TransAtlantic Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Random House - English 9781400069590 Reviews:
"Review" by , “This novel is beautifully hypnotic in its movements, from the grand (between two continents, across three centuries) to the most subtle. Silkily threading together public events and private feelings, TransAtlantic says no to death with every line.”
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