Book Review: TransAtlantic


First, I will openly admit I am a sucker for anything WWI or bi-plane era. When the description of the book started with a 1919 Atlantic non-stop flight I was hooked. Transatlantic is a forth coming book from writer Colum McCann and is centered around both Ireland and America.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section contains three seemingly unrelated stories. The first of a transatlantic flight of two World War I veterans. The second of Fredrich Douglass’ trip to Ireland and the third about American Senator George Mitchell’s brokering of peace between the IRA and England. All three stories are historical fiction with the major events all being factual.

The second part of the book ties all the events of the first part together through the lives of four generations of women. Events covering the US Civil War, the tenth anniversary of the first transatlantic flight, death, and a letter bring all parts of the book together in a remarkable way.

McCann does a remarkable job of both story telling and tying stories together. The first part of the book reads more like history than a novel and in particular is quite educating seeing Ireland through the eyes of Douglass and the realization that slavery is not always just about color. One hundred and fifty years of history molded perfectly into two hundred and sixty pages covering events and more importantly human lives and feelings.

This book is well worth the read. I expected to enjoy the transatlantic flight story and was unsure if that would be enough to draw me into the complete book, but as it turned out the rest of the book exceeded my expectations for the flight story.

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