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.
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.
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.
Random House -
by Emma Donoghue,
“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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