Author(s): Colum Mccann
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.
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2013. SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2013.
Beautifully constructed ... a novel of true resonance and power Independent 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. Those who can't see the point of historical novels will find their answer here: in all intelligent fiction, the past has not passed Emma Donoghue Expertly constructed ... At its best, as in the superbly rendered early scene of Alcock and Brown's flight, the prose is poetically vivid -- Mark O'Connell Observer Few contemporary writers are better at subtracting the sublime from the base ... A kind of cat's cradle of transatlantic journeys, all connected, all built on another thing -- Hermione Hoby Guardian A challenging, beautifully woven novel about the real and imagined. Fans of Ian McEwan will love it -- Viv Groskop Red McCann is no stranger to literary prizes - but if I were him, I'd start clearing my mantelpiece for a few more -- James Walton Daily Mail McCann makes us wonder at how his characters get from A to B; he encourages us to see how journeys elicit distinctions and closeness between people . He is especially striking when he describes the weather: the wind muscles through the grass; clouds perform a curtsy. He has a telegraphic style of transmitting historical content -- Freya Johnston Daily Telegraph Colum McCann is a very gifted, charming writer; in full, rhapsodic-onrush mode, he is hard to resist. He coins a good phrase...TransAtlantic is deft, well crafted, and broad in its imaginative range. The many people who loved his last novel will certainly enjoy this one Guardian A marvellously engrossing journey, studded with ideas and lyrical treats The Times It is a record not of great men and great moments but of small, elegant details and personal loss New Statesman McCann's prose aspires towards the atmospheric and descriptive...Stylistically, McCann shares a great deal with Michael Ondaatje, while the presence of Don DeLillo, both in form and content, is also apparent ... McCann is drawn to lives lived, and his vivid, reactive and heartfelt fiction lives and breathes, sighs and weeps. Above all, his characters remember the past and contemplate the future Irish Times Blending fact and fiction with a poet's precision ... There's no doubting the novel's lyrical and emotional power though Sunday Express McCann's ability to move through such vastly differing places and personalities is as uncanny as it is relentless. Most of the novel is held remarkably together by only the most delicate of strands, through the gentle echoes resonating between the book's diverse wandering characters ... What drives the novel - like all of McCann's fiction - is simply the author's sturdy, humane, unfailing knack for animating period and place in the inner minutiae of individual lives Sunday Times Beautifully poignant Mail on Sunday Majestic Sunday Times A vivid novel of three personal stories intricately woven together around the first transatlantic flight Mail on Sunday History comes vividly to life in a majestic work whose characters traverse the Atlantic Sunday Times Summer Reads It is, simply, perfect. McCann's writing is sublime; his images shine Irish Examiner A shamelessly daring, ambitious epic of a novel ... McCann's impulse is towards a Joycean magnanimity, affirmativeness and bravery ... Lady McCann is at the height of his lyrical powers ... Though it may sound forbiddingly schematic, TransAtlantic's narrative strands are deftly linked through the fictional Ehrlich family. Far from being a celebration of historical acts of derring-do, McCann's ambitious, touching and occasionally joyous novel is a paean to self-determination in all its forms -- Daragh Reddin Metro The forces at work in our lives, Colum McCann makes arrestingly clear, begin long before we're born. Several wider thematic links also emerge - and so slyly that days after finishing the book, you're still making them -- Sheena Davit and Mary Carr Irish Mail on Sunday A very refined piece of writing -- Philip Hensher Spectator The book I've enjoyed most this year -- Andrew Marr Mail on Sunday
Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. His most recent novel, the New York Times bestseller Let the Great World Spin, won the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and several other major international awards. His fiction has been published in thirty-five languages. He lives in New York. www.colummccann.com