BKMT READING GUIDES



 
Interesting,
Confusing,
Informative

5 reviews

TransAtlantic: A Novel
by Colum McCann

Published: 2013-06-04
Hardcover : 304 pages
20 members reading this now
27 clubs reading this now
10 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 5 members
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

In the National Book Award–winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann thrilled readers with a marvelous high-wire act of fiction that The New York Times ...
Also available in:
Kindle EditionAudio CD
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

In the National Book Award–winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann thrilled readers with a marvelous high-wire act of fiction that The New York Times Book Review called “an emotional tour de force.” Now McCann demonstrates once again why he is one of the most acclaimed and essential authors of his generation with a soaring novel that spans continents, leaps centuries, and unites a cast of deftly rendered characters, both real and imagined.
 
Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War.
 
Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.
 
New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.
 
These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novel follows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in the present-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures of previous generations live on. From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands of Missouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory.
 
The most mature work yet from an incomparable storyteller, TransAtlantic is a profound meditation on identity and history in a wide world that grows somehow smaller and more wondrous with each passing year.

Praise for TransAtlantic
 
“A dazzlingly talented author’s latest high-wire act . . . Reminiscent of the finest work of Michael Ondaatje and Michael Cunningham, TransAtlantic is Colum McCann’s most penetrating novel yet.”O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“One of the greatest pleasures of TransAtlantic is how provisional it makes history feel, how intimate, and intensely real. . . . Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”The Boston Globe
 
“Ingenious . . . The intricate connections [McCann] has crafted between the stories of his women and our men [seem] written in air, in water, and—given that his subject is the confluence of Irish and American history—in blood.”Esquire
 
“Another sweeping, beautifully constructed tapestry of life . . . Reading McCann is a rare joy.”The Seattle Times
 
“Entrancing . . . McCann folds his epic meticulously into this relatively slim volume like an accordion; each pleat holds music—elation and sorrow.”The Denver Post

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: McCannâ??s stunning sixth novel is a brilliant tribute to his loamy, lyrical and complicated Irish homeland, and an ode to the ties that, across time and space, bind Ireland and America. The book begins with three transatlantic crossings, each a novella within a novel: Frederick Douglasâ??s 1845 visit to Ireland; the 1919 flight of British aviators Alcock and Brown; and former US senator George Mitchellâ??s 1998 attempt to mediate peace in Northern Ireland. McCann then loops back to 1863 to launch the saga of the women weâ??ve briefly met throughout Book One, beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, whose bold escape from her troubled homeland cracks open the world for her daughter and granddaughter. The language is lush, urgent, chiseled and precise; sometimes languid, sometimes kinetic. At times, it reads like poetry, or a dream. Choppy sentences. Two-word declaratives. Arranged into stunning, jagged tableaux. Bleak, yet hopeful. (Describing Lilyâ??s first view of America: â??New York appeared like a cough of blood.â??) The finale is a melancholy set piece that ties it all together--an unopened letter, â??passed from daughter to daughter, and through a succession of lives,â?? becomes the bookâ??s mysterious token, an emblem of a world grown smaller. McCann reminds us that life is hard, and it is a wonder, and there is hope. --Neal Thompson

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

No discussion questions at this time.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "My book club choice was a bomb..."by foley_barrett (see profile) 06/22/18

1 out of 5 liked this book. The rest of us hated it, including me. I guess it's just not up our alley.

 
  "fascinating and worth the effort"by Kltelford (see profile) 12/21/15

While it could be slow in parts, with certain chapters more engaging than others, the quality of writing and historical backgrounds make this an interesting read.

 
by wmartin (see profile) 05/22/15

 
by Kerri123 (see profile) 10/07/14

 
  "Transatlantic"by lionel (see profile) 10/07/14

I thought it was an interesting way to present a period in history around three men and three women.
Some of their stories were more captivating than others but all were woven together very cleverly.

 
by jsvincent (see profile) 09/30/14

 
  "Transatlantic "by bj21580 (see profile) 07/30/14

Very confusing, disconnected and boring.

 
  "Transcendant"by mmcbride (see profile) 05/04/14

This book takes you across the Atlantic as the title suggests but also takes you to different time periods. A great idea by the author to span time and space with fictional characters who could be real... (read more)

 
  "Transience of life"by kathrynda (see profile) 02/16/14

Crossings are fascinating and moving. Descriptions of the Irish Famine make it more than an interesting historical event.

 
  "Transatlantic, Colum McCann"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/25/13

Transatlantic begins in 1919 with a landmark flight by two young ex-servicemen, Teddy Brown and Jack Alcock, who fly across the ocean from Newfoundland to Dublin, non-stop. The description o... (read more)

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search




FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...