~Book ⚆ TransAtlantic ☫ PDF or E-pub free

~Book ☼ TransAtlantic ♽ No history is mute No matter how much they own it, break it, and lie about it, human history refuses to shut its mouth Despite deafness and ignorance, the time that was continues to tick inside the time that is Colum 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 imaginedNewfoundland,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 WarDublin,andOn 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 slaveNew York,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 conclusionThese 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 memoryThe 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 wondrous with each passing year The world that we inhabit is a small place, and that has been as evident as ever in 2020 The ability to travel large distances in a short amount of time can be both a blessing and a curse With the click of a button aided by technological applications, a person can talk to those on the other side of the world, not having to leave one s house One hundred years ago, the idea of traveling large distances in a short matter of time was still in its infancy Crossing oceans by steamship or newly cre The world that we inhabit is a small place, and that has been as evident as ever in 2020 The ability to travel large distances in a short amount of time can be both a blessing and a curse With the click of a button aided by technological applications, a person can talk to those on the other side of the world, not having to leave one s house One hundred years ago, the idea of traveling large distances in a short matter of time was still in its infancy Crossing oceans by steamship or newly created airplanes needed to be carefully planned out or run the risk of meeting one s watery death The idea of bettering one s life by moving to a different place city, state, country has long been part of the human experience Gifted prose writer Colum McCann delves into the concept of human migration across large distances as he focuses on people, both real and fictional, as he showcases how and why people have traveled History, McCann notes in his author interview at the end of Transatlantic, has largely been written by men In the first part of his thought provoking novel, McCann focuses on three real men from different eras of history Frederick Douglass, aviators Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, and Senator George Mitchell Irish by birth, by the time McCann wrote Transatlantic he had never focused on Ireland in his writing even though he knows that the nation is his home The descriptions of the Emerald Isle are the most vivid in the book, as though McCann had been waiting to write about Ireland for his entire career Douglass traveled to Ireland in 1845 at the onset of the potato famine, which eventually lead to a mass immigration to United States soil Douglass trip is a little known footnote in history, with the abolitionist garnering most of his notoriety upon his return to his homeland For Douglass, however, he experienced freedom for the first time in Europe, traveling to Ireland on a speaking tour to promote his book Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which in turn allowed him to buy his freedom on his return to the United States As McCann expertly weaves fact and fiction, he points out that Douglass true sense of self and belonging is tied to Ireland because in that nation he was not chained to slavery, and, yet, he had the longing to return to home to his family, a voyage to freedom across a vast ocean Seventy five years after Douglass traveled to Ireland, aviators Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown flew from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland in a propeller plane The plane had been elevated to freedom having been rescued from war, and the flight itself brought fame to the pilots who relied on a network of stars to blindly navigate the skies, flying because they loved the feeling of freedom not for glory Alcock and Brown crossed the ocean in fifteen hours, and this time would only become shorter over the years By the turn of the 21st century, George Mitchell crossed the Atlantic Ocean every few days in a matter of hours traveling from New York to London to Dublin to Belfast to Washington to New York, attempting to broker peace on an otherwise serene island Travel became second nature for Mitchell as he was on a first name basis with airline personnel in multiple countries, memorizing the menus and accoutrements provided to him for his enjoyment Despite having the luxury of easy travel, Mitchell appeared of all the characters the least free, coming out of retirement to assist others in gaining peace at the expense of spending time with his son Mitchell is fortunate to live at an era in history where such travel is possible, whereas in Douglass era, the Senator might have rarely known his son, showcasing that the world has indeed gotten smaller over time While the men who have written history are on display in this novel, the stars of this book are four generations of women who have woven their own family s history as a web of time and place Lily Duggan is inspired by Douglass talks and immigrates to New York From there she travels by train to St Louis where she works as a nurse during the Civil War, finding love and marrying Jon Ehrlich, a simple man who sells ice for a living The Ehrlichs have six children, the youngest of whom Emily is emblematic of the United States growth as a nation in the second half of the 19th century Emily chooses a career as a newspaper reporter yet has to write under the byline of her publisher, much to her own consternation, having given so much of herself to her job At the turn of the 20th century, women are still not full citizens, and Emily is clearly ahead of her time A single mother to young Lottie, Emily chooses to immigrate, first to her brother in Toronto and then to Newfoundland, where she takes up residence in the Cochrane Hotel and finds employment at a forward thinking newspaper It is at the Cochrane Hotel that the lives of the Ehrlich family intersect with Alcock and Brown, weaving fact and fiction together seamlessly, setting a stage for a meeting between the families later on in another time and place The stars of the book in my eyes are Lottie Tuttle nee Ehrlich and her daughter Hannah Lottie and Emily travel to Europe aboard steamship in 1929 in a carefully planned journey to see the continent Their first stop is Northern Ireland to meet with Brown and his family, and it is there that Lottie finds true love, allowing her to put her roots down in the Emerald Isle, her family s original home As a ninety year old, she encounters Senator Mitchell and tells him that he should work on his tennis game Here, Lottie Tuttle seems as real as George Mitchell even though she is a fictional character Thirteen years later, her daughter Hannah completes the story of the family history She tells the tale of her great grandmother Lily Duggan s journey to America in 1845 and reminisces about the struggles and memories that came next, making readers believe that perhaps Hannah has been the narrator all along Lottie did not make it to one hundred years old but she lived long enough to see George Mitchell broker peace in Ireland, making Northern Ireland a safer place to live for future generations As the book is about to draw to a close, Hannah meets David and Aiobhanne Manyaki and their children, a family with roots on two continents, characters carefully drawn out and playing a large role in the novel even though they only make an experience in the final chapters The Manyakis demonstrate how time and distance have grown smaller over the decades, their lives intersecting with the Duggan Ehrlich Tuttle family, who has crossed the ocean multiple times in search of the spot that the family can truthfully call home In an author interview with Elizabeth Strout, Colum McCann adroitly notes that his fictional characters are as real as the factual ones He notes that a Tom Joad or Scout Finch are real in that they help explain history to today s readers even though they are made up characters This is the blending of fact and fiction and shows that Colum McCann is a leading historical fiction writer of today, melding carefully crafted characters with real historical people and events to allow readers an insight into history Transatlantic brought many discussion points about time, place, distance, human migration, and family McCann s always expert prose made for enjoyable fast reading, allowing me to savor his words, giving me much to look forward to the next time I pick up one of his deftly crafted novels 4 stars The weight of words, and the appreciation of the meaning they bear The ironies of life, and the small comforts Where theintrusion of the ordinaryplays out in themiracle of the actualThreads from four generations of women are taken up and braided together to form a plaited wholeThe conspiracy of women We are in it together, make no mistake I feared the subject matter was not going to hold my interest, but the writing itself had me hooked before I could do anything about it I The weight of words, and the appreciation of the meaning they bear The ironies of life, and the small comforts Where theintrusion of the ordinaryplays out in themiracle of the actualThreads from four generations of women are taken up and braided together to form a plaited wholeThe conspiracy of women We are in it together, make no mistake I feared the subject matter was not going to hold my interest, but the writing itself had me hooked before I could do anything about it I was completely taken with this author s Thirteen Ways of Looking, and mentioned in my review that I wanted to readfrom him TransAtlantic was recommended to me by Roger Brunyate Thank you, sir, for a fine read As in LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, McCann s new novel begins with a real event in the air, and uses the opening narrative as a camera lens, tilting this way and that and keeping us off balance while images assemble to create a defining scene British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Teddy Whitten Brown are up in the air in their WW 1 Vickers Vimy at the start of this tale, the pair who made the historical transatlantic journey from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1919 It could be said that the novel b As in LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN, McCann s new novel begins with a real event in the air, and uses the opening narrative as a camera lens, tilting this way and that and keeping us off balance while images assemble to create a defining scene British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Teddy Whitten Brown are up in the air in their WW 1 Vickers Vimy at the start of this tale, the pair who made the historical transatlantic journey from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1919 It could be said that the novel begins in media res, and the reader is installed in an already evolving story that takes place from 1845 to the present It is told through a non linear progress of evolving images, events, and generations of people.But, wait, I need to go back to the image in the prologue to a house, and a woman listening to the sounds that define the house s character By the time we make the symmetrical return to the house at the end of the book, its image has been altered and given much gravitas by the external events that precede it The whole of the novel is most elegantly the sum of its parts This isn t evident for a while, because the separate generations stories are rendered with zoomed in effect, and the camera gradually pulls out to connect the different stories together Later, as the varying threads and initially unrelated perspectives go back and forth a few times, we see the integration of stories and generations into a panoramic whole The factual characters and events heighten the poignancy of the fictional ones.The graceful symmetry of the novel s harmonious and measured structure is one of the elements of this genre blurring fiction that McCann is so noted for He seamlessly weaves biographical people and events with the ordinary characters that populate the story As McCann re examines and speculates on them, he creates adjoining tunnels into their lives, illuminating the predominant theme of the novel, which is beautifully distilled in this quote We return to the lives before us, a perplexing m bius strip until we come home, eventually, to ourselves That line, which deepens every time I read it, became the defining image for me, and tied the different threads and four generations of narrative voices together into a beautiful, astonishing, immaculate masterpiece The mixture of biographical facts and speculative truth of Alcock and Brown transforming a bomber plane into a navigational vehicle to fly a landmark journey freed slave and statesman Frederick Douglass eye opening visit to Ireland in 1845 Senator George Mitchell s historic flight to Ireland that led to the Belfast Peace Agreement on Good Friday 1998 the words of great leaders and journalists and the transportation of ice all seamlessly weave into the fabric of the four generations of women.A letter written by the novel s journalist Emily Ehrlich, and given to aviator Brown, becomes the most enigmatic and recurring signifier of all, a dispatch that is both a symbol and a subtly dramatic connection between the generations We prefigure our futures by imagining our pasts We go back and forth Across the waters The past, the present, the elusive future A nation Everything constantly shifted by the present The taut elastic of time McCann s exquisite, transcendent use of language is a joy to read, peerless prose that is at once timeless and still quiescent but vital, and fuses the past, the present, and the future into one of those adjoining tunnels that link and span the generations and themes Language, as McCann describes it in the novel, is a tool to express ideas and also a challenge to conquer It is the bridge, but sometimes the fence, between generations and nations how very odd it is to be abandoned by language, how the future demands what should have been asked in the past, how words can escape us with such ease, and we are left, then, only with the pursuit This book braids Ireland s struggle with humanity s struggle to free itself from the chains of the past, while acknowledging that those chains annex our future It is a sublime, extraordinary tale that gradually, very gradually becomes an intimate story about four individual, ordinary women framed by the historic figures that have contributed to big world changes By the end, it was these four generations of women that moved me most of all Their stories are seared into my heart I don t need to tell you anything about them in my review As you read, I am confident that you will agree This will go down as one of my fifty greatest novels of all time Trite but true, all good things must come to an end I so wanted to keep reading the wonderful prose, the settings that let one think they are part of the story, and the wonderful characters that this novel contains McCann has the knack of illuminating the everyday things of a person s life, hidden pride, glowing praise, love for country family and children Everyday items, inconsequential things assume a meaning that often in apparent only in hindsight Taking real historical characters and mi Trite but true, all good things must come to an end I so wanted to keep reading the wonderful prose, the settings that let one think they are part of the story, and the wonderful characters that this novel contains McCann has the knack of illuminating the everyday things of a person s life, hidden pride, glowing praise, love for country family and children Everyday items, inconsequential things assume a meaning that often in apparent only in hindsight Taking real historical characters and mixing them with characters of his own invention, and making the story realistic takes a very great talent Covering the pure amount of history in a littlethan 250 pgs fills one with wonder It is very important to pay attention to the prologue, also the small events that keep reappearing in different places The first part of the book is not linear, the second part covers some wonderfully strong woman characters, and like a master weaver he threads them throughout history and combines them to make a cohesive and finished piece It is also a homage to Ireland, their fight and quest for freedom, intermingled with America and slavery This is a book that contain so many wonderful quotes one could quote indefinitely, but this is one of my favorites and a good way to end this review There isn t a story in the world that isn t in part at least, addressed to the past And so it goes.ARC from publisher This was enchanting to me Three immersions in historical events and people that involve a crossing of the Atlantic between Ireland and North America They happen to be male two British airmen making the first crossing after World War 1 Frederick Douglass on a speaking tour of Ireland in 1845, and the former Maine Senator, George Mitchell, helping negotiate the Northern Ireland peace accord between 1995 and 1998 These disparate events have links though time by three generations of fictional w This was enchanting to me Three immersions in historical events and people that involve a crossing of the Atlantic between Ireland and North America They happen to be male two British airmen making the first crossing after World War 1 Frederick Douglass on a speaking tour of Ireland in 1845, and the former Maine Senator, George Mitchell, helping negotiate the Northern Ireland peace accord between 1995 and 1998 These disparate events have links though time by three generations of fictional women bound up in human eddies in the wake of the passage of historical figures The narrative weaves all this into a wonderful braid that bridges continents A young girl in Irish immigrant family in Newfoundland gets to meet the British flyers and photographs them for her father s newspaper story There is a family connection between her backward to a woman who Douglass has significant interactions with in Ireland and a forward connection to people in Mitchell s experience during his time in Ireland This kind of construction is fun to experience and not too far from the pleasures of David Mitchell s creations The inscription from Galeano that starts the book tells us that Despite deafness and ignorance, the time that was continues to tick inside the time that is The independent stories are fascinating to get embedded in while we wait to find any connection with each other Our time machine starts with the flyers Alcott and Brown being motivated to do something positive with their bomber plane and experiences of the war Part two goes back in time with Douglass, for whom time s arrow points forward toward the Civil War in America and, for his hosts, the incipient famine and violent strife over Irish independence With the Mitchell section, we spin far forward, but the burden of his task is to somehow put closure on the smoldering conflict over the fate of Northern Ireland with a history extending far back in time The mutual fascination between the Irish and Douglass was great to see come to life with McCann s mastery of perception, speech, and personalities The Irish saw him as a hero to aspire to, a freed slave who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and garnered respect from peoples high and low by the power of his words In turn Douglass identified with their struggles for rights as an underclass virtually enslaved by the wealthy You can t help but wonder how his arguments for a pathway to a just society took roots there or how his seeing the struggles of the Irish energized his fight against slavery.I loved the section on Mitchell, whom I admire as a former Senate Majority Leader from my state of Maine It was pretty audacious for McCann to make a living figure a fictional character Being the son of an ethnic Irish father, who was a janitor, and a Lebanese immigrant mother, who was a textile worker, he makes for an appropriate figure to recognize the power of people to change and bridge differences I was moved over coverage in this story of his trepidation over taking up the task given him by Clinton as a Special Envoy and of his personal sacrifice in leaving his new young wife and infant son for so long Accepting Sinn F in at the table was critical to the three year process leading to the Belfast Peace Accord of 1998 and really only achieving fruition with the relinquishment of arms by the IRA in 2005.A lot of friends who are fans of history books get affronted by fictional versions of significant historical figures I think a lot of truth can be revealed in a particular version of a figure, a theory if you will, is given life in fictional narrative, replete with dialog and access to their internal emotions On this topic, I like what McCann said in an interview in the back of the book I suppose one of the reasons for writing TransAtlantic is that I wanted to question the gulf between what is real and what is imagined Is there any difference at all Can the imagined be considered real And vice versa Is Tom Joad not real because he was imagined by Steinbeck A story is a story whether it is based on real life characters or not A real person should be as fully fleshed as an invented I have a duty to all my characters And I want to braid the tapestry together so that fiction and nonfiction get confused.I loved this tapestry and look forward to readingfrom McCann, having only read his Zoli Colum McCann is a talented writer He can say in six words what most people can t say in 60 I really enjoyed this, his latest novel.First of all, he has a way of making me interested in topics in which I had little or no interest prior The first transatlantic flight, for instance Sure, it s useful to know when it happened, and who accomplished it, but did I really care Nah Enter Colum McCann In a few paragraphs, you ll feel as though you understand the essence of who those two pilots are Colum McCann is a talented writer He can say in six words what most people can t say in 60 I really enjoyed this, his latest novel.First of all, he has a way of making me interested in topics in which I had little or no interest prior The first transatlantic flight, for instance Sure, it s useful to know when it happened, and who accomplished it, but did I really care Nah Enter Colum McCann In a few paragraphs, you ll feel as though you understand the essence of who those two pilots are He puts you there in the plane with them You feel the wind and the weather on your face, and the disorientation of the clouds He breathes air into Frederick Douglass, too We know he was an American hero, but you ll learn about his passions, what made him tick You ll feel his presence as he comes off the page You ll see him as the Irish did in 1845 And you ll be sickened, perhaps as never before, by the fact that human beings were bought and sold, branded and whipped here in the good old USA as though they were cattle for over 200 years If you stop and think about it, it ll blow your mind McCann brings the experience home to you If you ve not read the book, you might want to stop here I don t consider the following a spoiler if you ve read the GR blurb, but you might History books mention only the major players the speakers, the senators, the pilots most of whom are men Perhaps the thing I appreciate most about this book is that McCann s novel is really about a family sitting in the background of these events, primarily its maternal line It s in this collection of strong, intelligent women that the novel really sparkles A few quotes The world does not turn without moments of grace Who cares how small Hannah s hands have aged a little Thirty eight years old now, half her life a mother herself A tilework to her skin A braid of veins at the base of her wrist Such a curious thing, to watch your daughter grow older That odd inheritance She is still in her dressing gown as she watches them go A regiment The marks of their bootprints in the mud The dogs loping patiently behind them They disappear around the red gatepost and the sky rises up as they grow small And my favorite, encompassing a major theme of the novel There isn t a story in the world that isn t in part, at least, addressed to the past I so enjoy a writer whose words leave me in awe There is pain in the story, and death, and loss But the prose is so beautiful, and a few sentences almost made me catch my breath I especially loved the way he closed the story The last page had me in tears, not due to its sadness, but its beauty It made me sad, too, that there were nopages to turn This is a book not to be missed This review is going to be mostly about me.Surprise Colum McCann is an Irish writer who in 2009 wrote that book about Philippe Petit, which turns out to have been as much about Philippe Petit as, say, To Kill a Mockingbird is about Boo Radley The book merely uses Petit s performance art as an anchoring point around which the book s different stories of life in 1970s New York City are tethered And in spite of the fact that the short story form is not generally my bag, I actually found it surpri This review is going to be mostly about me.Surprise Colum McCann is an Irish writer who in 2009 wrote that book about Philippe Petit, which turns out to have been as much about Philippe Petit as, say, To Kill a Mockingbird is about Boo Radley The book merely uses Petit s performance art as an anchoring point around which the book s different stories of life in 1970s New York City are tethered And in spite of the fact that the short story form is not generally my bag, I actually found it surprisingly coherent TransAtlantic tries to do something similar here, but in this case the anchor s weight is supplied by a generational line of women, female descendants of Ireland, and it is Irish history that weaves through and around them history including the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic, Frederick Douglass s tour of Ireland following the publishing of his first autobiography, the Great Irish Famine, the approval of the Good Friday Agreement, and The Troubles in Belfast And while I liked this book though not as much Let the Great World Spin , I don t believe it would have been as successful in the hands of another writer In other words, I don t think there s anything particularly great about this book, but there is something great about McCann himself Over lunch the other day, Steve Hotopp said it s the Irish in him, and I don t know how to explain that other than to say that he has a certain flair for imagery and for setting and for establishing time and place His characters move about without a lot of fuss but are solid characters nonetheless And here s where we start to talk about me I think it might have to do with the fact that McCann s writing makes me feel as though I m somehow back in Ireland back in Dublin, crossing the Liffey into the poorer northern sections, back in Dalkey Village or walking the beaches of Sandymount, back amidst the hustle and bustle of the D n Laoghaire docks I WANT TO TEACH YOU HOW TO SAY D N LAOGHAIRE , and even back in the north, back in Belfast along the Malone Road where I lived, or on the Stranmillis, or at Queens where I went to school, or at the Europa on Great Victoria, the entire city a weird mix of Anglo and Irish influence take a wrong turn and BOOM, you d better have the right last name It made me miss all those places I haven t thought about in years, which is probably not at all what this book is supposed to do for its readership, but this is what I m trying to tell you that is the effect it had on me.Me, me, me UPDATE 7 23 2013 TransAtlantic on the Long List for the MAN Booker Prize Rating 4.85 of fiveThe Book Description National Book Award winning novelist Colum McCann delivers his most ambitious and beautiful novel yet, tying together a series of narratives that span 150 years and two continents in an outstanding act of literary bravura.In 1845 a black American slave lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet In 1919, two bra UPDATE 7 23 2013 TransAtlantic on the Long List for the MAN Booker Prize Rating 4.85 of fiveThe Book Description National Book Award winning novelist Colum McCann delivers his most ambitious and beautiful novel yet, tying together a series of narratives that span 150 years and two continents in an outstanding act of literary bravura.In 1845 a black American slave lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet In 1919, two brave young airmen emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland And in 1998 an American senator criss crosses the ocean in search of a lasting Irish peace Bearing witness to these history making moments of Frederick Douglass, John Alcock and Teddy Brown, and George Mitchell, and braiding the story together into one epic tale, are four generations of women from a matriarchal clan, beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan In this story of dark and light, men and women, history and past, fiction and fact, National Book Award winning novelist Colum McCann delivers a tour de force that is his most spectacular achievement to date.My Review This is an ambitious book indeed McCann refines storytelling techniques he used in Let the Great World Spin , and layers incomplexity than he created in that National Book Award winner For that reason alone, I d give him high marks.But as a work of social commentary on Ireland, on its colonial past and its enraged present, the book comes alive Without ever leaving his focus on the personal lives of people, he limns the results of the struggle of his homeland to be its ownself Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, is in Ireland to raise money for Abolition in the USA Isn t that a nice cause for turn about, with the IRA raising money in the USA for its militancy Webb took him out onto the verandah by the elbow and said But Frederick, you cannot bite the hand that feeds.The stars collandered the Wexford night He knew Webb was right There would always be an alignment There were so many sides to every horizon He could only choose one No single mind could hold it all at once Truth, justice, reality, contradiction Misunderstandings could arise He had one cause only He must cleave to it He paced the verandah A cold wind whipped off the water.The water, the recurring use of the water, the wind off the water, being in the water, all of it the Atlantic, all of it marking transformation and immersion in the moment of transformation for each characterthat s lovely.The toughness and surivorhood of Ireland s women is a major part of the story So is the deep seated need of the Irish to Be Irish.She stood at the window It was her one hundred twenty eighth day of watching men die They came down the road in wagons pulled by horses She had never seen such a bath of killing before The wheels screeched The line of wagons stretched down the path, into the trees The trees themselves stretched off into the war.She came down the stairs, through the open doors, into the wide heatThe men had exhausted their shouts They were left with small whimperings, tiny gasps of painOne soldier wore sergeant s stripes on his sleeve, and a gold harp stitched on his lapel An Irishman She had tended to so many of them.So is the quixotic character of men, pushing boundaries that separate them in their minds from Glory The transAtlantic flight of the titleso very male in its pointless bravado, and in its gauntlet flinging results of commonplace transAtlantic air travel It was that time of the century when the idea of a gentleman had almost become a myth The Great War had concussed the world The unbearable news of sixteen million deaths rolled off the great metal drums of the newspapers Europe was a crucible of bones.That s plain old fashioned beautiful phrase making.But in the end, the story large and small is about the strength of women to carry on The struggles of men against the futility of their existence, a mere accident of evolution s need to stir the pot to keep the soup of life boiling merrily instead of burning irretrievably, are as ever and as always propped up, supported, allowed to exist, by women, evolution s one essential ingredient, carriers of whatever life the planet holds and makers of whatever future the men leave alone in their ceaseless tinkering.The tap of his cane on the floor The clank of the water pipes She is wary of making too much of a fuss Doesn t want to embarrass him, but he s certainly slowing up these weathers What she dreads is a thump on the floor, or a falling against the banisters, or worse still a tumble down the stairs She climbs the stairs before he emerges from the bathroom A quick wrench of worry when there is no sound, but he emerges with a slightly bewildered look on his face He has left a little shaving foam on the side of his chin, and his shirt is haphazardly buttoned.The ancient days of the Grand Opera House, the Hippodrome, the Curzon, the Albert Memorial Clock The two of them out tripping the light fantastic So young then The smell of his tweeds The Turkish tobacco he used to favor The charity balls in Belfast, her gown rustling on the steps, her husband beside her, bow tied, brilliantined, tipsy.Worry for the presentnostalgia for the pastawareness of the short horizon of the future She will bear it all He will be borne to his bourn side bier on the shoulders of this woman.And the wonder of it isit goes on This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on women s memoirs One of the points that kept popping up in research is that, historically, memoirs were only written by Important People and, historically, Important People only included men The result is that we often have to use less direct methods to discern what life was like for the women unless we can read their diaries, letters and the like, the only stories we are left with have been filtered through men s lenses and only reflect the sm When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on women s memoirs One of the points that kept popping up in research is that, historically, memoirs were only written by Important People and, historically, Important People only included men The result is that we often have to use less direct methods to discern what life was like for the women unless we can read their diaries, letters and the like, the only stories we are left with have been filtered through men s lenses and only reflect the small roles women played in men s stories That s what I kept thinking about while reading TransAtlantic.Like he did in Let the Great World Spin Colum McCann explores multiple stories using a common thread to connect them In Spin, it was Philippe Petite s tightrope walk, a single event that each character witnessed in some way Here, the stories are spread over the course of 150 years and are connected by the titular theme of transatlantic crossings and four generations of women from the same family The first half of the book tells the men s side of history, which is certainly thefamous half the first men to fly nonstop from Canada to Ireland, Frederick Douglass trip to Ireland at the outset of the potato famine, and an American politician sent to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement The second half looks at how these important events affect and are affected by women The women s stories plumb greater depths, often spanning lifetimes of struggle or experience as opposed to a single event The two halves are not necessarily direct responses to each other the women s stories typically took place a number of years before or after the men s and I m not sure I ever got a firm grasp on what it was that McCann was trying to say about the roles men and women have played in history McCann is a master of prose, though I don t think it would be a stretch to say that a lot of people read him for his way with wordsthan for the plot I enjoyed his writing here, for the most part, though the stories ultimately had less resonance for me I attributed that to the fact that he was exploring ideas and techniques so similar to Spin, simply on a broader scale I d recommend this for fans, but I don t think it ll stick with me Thanks to Random House for the advanced review copy