McCann, the author of Let the Great World Spin, has created a remarkable novel of multiple generations of fictional female characters, and has interwoven their lives with those of real historical figures in both Ireland and the United States. With the characters Lily Duggan, an Irish maid, her granddaughter, Hannah Carson, Arthur Brown, the aviator, Frederick Douglass, the former slave and abolitionist, and George Mitchell, former U.S. senator who mediated the ceasefire in Northern Ireland, the author spans continents and leaps centuries and links the New World with the Old.
Read this book once for the story line and then read it again to fully understand and follow the threads of family and history.
“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
“What distinguishes TransAtlantic from [Colum] McCann’s earlier work isn’t the stunning language or the psychological acuity or the humor and imagination on display—all of that has been there before. It’s the sheer ambition, the audacity to imagine within the same novel the experience of Frederick Douglass in 1845 . . . then the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 . . . then to leap into the near-present and embody the former senator George Mitchell, . . . knitting through and around them the stories of four generations of women.”—The New York Times Magazine