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Transatlantic Hardcover – 4 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (4 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400069599
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069590
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of five novels and two collections of stories and has won numerous international literary awards for his writing. His film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for a short-film Oscar in 2005. Zoli, Dancer and This Side of Brightness were international bestsellers and his latest novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the 2009 National Book Award. His fiction has been published in twenty-seven languages. Colum McCann lives in New York.

(Photo credit: James Higgins)

Product Description

Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2013.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
Column McCann has written a terrific book of great Irish-American symbiosis. A combination of the people from the land he came from and loves, and the new America that he inhabits. What we have is a positive recollection of the people, stories and the Irish heritage that is celebrated. Freedom and War are the overriding stories.

The story begins in 1919, with the planning and actual nonstop transatlantic flight by two British airmen, Alcock and Brown, who flew from Newfoundland to Galway in their old bomber. This is an exhilarating story and flight. Along the way we meet a journalist, Emily Ehrlich, and her daughter, Lottie. They have an up close meeting with Alcock and Brown, as Emily is covering their flight. We move on to the visit of the great black man, Frederick Douglass, as he stomps through Ireland in 1845, during the Great Famine, lecturing about his autobiography, without a worry about the racism he faces back in the United States. We meet Lily Duggan, who was a maid at the home of Douglass's host. And, then, my favorite of the stories, George Mitchell and his time in 1998, negotiating a truce between England and the Irish Republic. Mitchell is a new father in his second marriage, and every two weeks he flies fromhis home in New York City to Ireland and then to Washington, DC. He gathers information, talks to all the involved parties, and then flies home to New York for a few days, where he starts the traveling again. We learn of is life in this time and the people he meets and greets, and one of these people is Lottie.

In the second portion of the book, these women, Emily, Lottie and Lily have a more profound impact, as they are the features of the rest of the story. These women tie all of the stories together.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
Always precise and insightful in his descriptions, and so in tune with his settings that they seem to breathe with his characters, Irish author Colum McCann uses three different plot lines set in three different time periods to begin this new novel, and all three plots are connected intimately to Ireland. In the process, he also creates a powerful sense of how men and women, no matter where they start out, may become so inspired to reach seemingly impossible goals that they willingly risk all, including their lives, to achieve success, often in new places, away from "home." Always, however, they remain connected to their pasts.

The imagery of flight which reappears throughout the novel comes from events which take place in Book One, set in 1919. John "Jack" Alcock and Arthur "Teddy" Brown, real characters, are readying themselves to become the first pilots to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, non-stop, in less than seventy-two hours. Both men, veterans of the First World war, want a clean slate, "the obliteration of memory." By making a few adjustments to the Vickers Vimy they know so well, "they [will be] using the bomber in a brand-new way: they were taking the war out of the plane, stripping the whole thing of its penchant for carnage," and opening whole new worlds of possibility. When the two aviators take off, a local photographer, Lottie Erlich, persuades Brown to hand-carry a letter written by her mother Emily to a family in Cork. (The Ehrlich family will eventually connect all the major plot lines throughout the book, and the letter will become a motif which develops further.) As the Alcock-Brown trip in this open-cockpit plane begins, the reader becomes totally involved in the excitement and danger. For Alcock and Brown, "The point of flight. To get rid of oneself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RB on 27 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
I could not bear this book. I was excited picking it up having really enjoyed Let the Great World Spin, but I found it excessively sentimental, the different stories too tenuously tied together and the style of many short sentences describing thoughts or place contrived and irritating.

Reading the account of the last days leading up to the Good Friday agreement (last chapter of Book One, titled para bellum) was frustrating in that it dealt with the issues superficially. No attempt to get into the substance of the disagreements (I know they are deep, but still), returning instead to the theme of dead children and their endlessly brave, grieving mothers. Also the senator was too saintly to be believable. Having concluded that chapter i took a breath and hoped for better at the start of Book Two, a whole new story with new characters and themes, only to read:

"She stood at the window. It was her one hundred and twenty-eighth day of watching men die. They came down the road in wagons pulled by horses... The beds of their wagons were black with blood. It had fallen on the wheels, too, so that their lives seemed to circle and turn beneath them." Really?

At that point i cursed out loud and closed the book. Maybe I should have finished it before posting this. And perhaps I'm only so disappointed as I was so impressed with the last McCann book I read.
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Format: Hardcover
The Irish are well renowned as great story tellers and this author certainly carries on that legacy. I have loved past novels of his - Let the Great World Spin and especially This Side of Brightness - with rich characters, unusual situations, both set in New York City, one taking place above the ground with its central character a tightrope walker, and the other taking place below ground during the construction of the underground tunnel network below the Hudson River.

This book also has many similar qualities with its interesting and diverse characters, the significant incidents in their lives, its story telling, but for me, it just didn't seem to have the same impact as the previous two novels. Maybe because there is too much going on, as the chapters move between places and times - Newfoundland in Canada in the early 1900s, Northern Ireland during the Troubles and late 1990s, Southern Ireland in the famine of the 1840s, the American Civil War of the 1860s. These places and times are all held together by the movement of the characters backwards and forwards across the Atlantic, each of which forms a short story that makes up the novel as a whole. I found the links between the characters and events tenuous to say the least, and really felt that each of the chapters was worthy of its own novel.

At the core of the book are four generations of women, beginning with Lily who finds the courage to leave famine plagued Ireland in 1845, her daughter Emily, then Lottie, and finally Hannah. These women have varying levels of importance in the course of the book; it is their interactions with the men who have greater roles to play in the book that holds the whole thing together.
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