5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: TransAtlantic (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. It seems simple enough, however, the stories are wonderful and fulfilling. The writing is superb, and we are drawn into the sense of history. It is not until the second half, however, that the stories come to the fore, in the days and nights of the lives of these women. Colum Mccan is a skillful writer, his words come to life, jump off the pages. I was not satisfied enough, however, something seemed to be missing, a little morsel that was left unsaid, but, maybe that is just me.
Recommended. prisrob 07-11-13