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1919. Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. Among the mail being carried on the aircraft is a letter which will not be opened for almost one hundred years. 1998. Senator George Mitchell criss-crosses the ocean in search of an elusive Irish peace. How many more bereaved mothers and grandmothers must he meet before an agreement can be reached? 1845. Frederick Douglass, a black American slave, lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet. On his travels he inspires a young maid to travel to New York to embrace a free world, but the land does not always fulfill its promises for her. From the violent battlefields of the Civil War to the ice lakes of northern Missouri, it is her youngest daughter Emily who eventually finds her way back to Ireland.
Can we cross from the new world to the old? How does the past shape the future? In TransAtlantic, National Book Award- winning Colum McCann has achieved an outstanding act of literary bravura. Intricately crafted, poetic and deeply affecting it weaves together personal stories to explore the fine line between what is real and what is imagined, and the tangled skein of connections that make up our lives.
Read Caroline Baum's Review:
Colum McCann has a very singular talent: he takes real life people and gives them fictional selves. He did it with Phillippe Petit in Let The Great World Spin and Rudolf Nureyev in Dancer. Now, he's surpassed himself with three stories of individuals in three different eras who crossed the Atlantic between Ireland and America, pursuing a dream, a goal, a mission.
Aviators Alcock and Brown, black Abolitionist Frederick Douglass and US peace negotiator Senator George Mitchell - all men of courage, both physical and psychological, with an idealistic commitment to peace and progress and prepared to take risks for a greater purpose than personal glory.
Interweaving their stories with graceful prose, vivid imagery and an acute and poetic appreciation of human complexity, McCann also introduces fictional female characters to the three stories for added shape, balance and amplification.The result is a beautiful braid of human hope.
About the Author
Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. His most recent novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award and was an international bestseller. His fiction has numerous other international literary awards and been published in thirty-five languages. He lives in New York.
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Comments about Transatlantic:
Fascinating stories interwoven and ultimately brought together. Lovely writing but sometimes the word pictures were overdone, and in Senator Mitchell's case, too much about his hour by hour thoughts and too little explanation of what was being worked out in the peace talks. I nearly gave up in that part of the book but am very glad I persevered.
Praise for Let the Great World Spin: A blockbuster, groundbreaking, heartbreaking, symphony of a novel ... No novelist writing of New York has climbed higher, dived deeper Frank McCourt An exceptional performance by a writer whose originality and profound humanity is evident throughout this highly original and wondrous novel Douglas Kennedy, Independent A giant among us - fearless, huge-hearted, a poet with every living breath Peter Carey One of the greatest ever novels about New York. There's so much passion and humour and pure life-force on every page that you'll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed Dave Eggers
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st June 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.49
Edition Number: 1