Saturday, July 6, 2013
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
This was an interesting and ambitious book. The author carefully wove together 3 seemingly unrelated stories: it starts with the story of a pilot and navigator in Newfoundland shortly after World War I. They are both injured veterans who love flying and want to erase the bad memories of war by successfully flying across the Atlantic. The second story is of an escaped African American slave who travels to Ireland to raise awareness and funds for his cause. The third is the story of George Mitchell's travels to Northern Ireland in the early 2000s to broker a peace deal. It would spoil the story if I explain how the stories fit together but by the end it all becomes clear. And though it starts with these four men, I would say the story is really one of four generations of strong women and how they cope with the Irish famine, immigration to the US, the civil war, personal tragedy, the return to Ireland and the "Troubles" there. McCann's style is easy to read despite some lengthy descriptive passages. And the characters he introduces are very engaging. A really good read.