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TransAtlantic | Colum McCann | Review

“A brand-new thought: Transatlantic airmail. She tests the phrase, scratching it out on the paper, over and over, transatlantic, trans atlas, trans antic. The distance finally broken.” - Colum McCann, TransAtlanic

TransAtlantic is a novel with different stories that span over different decades and generations. The stories also take the reader back and forth between Ireland and America. In the end the stories are linked together through different generations and historic events. The first story in the book is the story of Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, two Irishmen who make the first non-stop flight over the Atlantic in an old warplane.

TransAtlantlic by Colum McCann is a well-written and a well-researched historical novel. I really found myself enjoying McCann’s writing style, it was easy to follow but still colorful and descriptive. The characters and the places in the story were very vividly and nicely portrayed.But the problem with reading novels with different overlapping stories is that you as might not enjoyed the stories equally as much. For example, I wasn’t that impressed with the story of Alcock’s and Brown’s flight over the Atlantic or the story of George Mitchell, former senator who played a big part in the Irish peace process. I didn’t quite feel like George Mitchell was a natural part of the story in the same way as the other characters. But on the other hand I really enjoyed the story of Fredrick Douglass, former slave, now activist and writer who visits Ireland during the days of the Great Famine. I also really liked the story about Lily Duggan, an Irish maid that Fredrick Douglass encounters during his time in Ireland and who moves to America to start a new life.

Even if I had mixed feelings about the different stories in this book I still found it to be a really enjoyable reading experience. If I had enjoyed the different stories equally as much TransAtlantic would easily be a 4-star book for me, but because I struggled with getting through a few chapters I’ll leave my rating at 3,5/5 stars. But if you like historical fiction or are interested in Irish history I definitely think you should give this book a go! I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

This post was written by regular reviewer Niina, get to know her here.

1 comment

  1. I absolutely love novels which have some historical background, so I guess this one would be perfect (also love the picture on the cover)!


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