TransAtlantic TransAtlantic question

Snow day: Let's talk TransAtlantic
Emily Letras Emily Feb 05, 2014 07:42AM
Here are some questions Molly posed during last night't first #indybookclub twitter chat:

1. Which historical narrative did you find most compelling?
2. How well did McCann tie things together? Do you think it took too long?
3. Who would you consider the most significant characters?

History - I enjoyed the Douglass section the most enthralling. I enjoyed how McCann described Douglass walking through Dublin etc.

Book 2 / 3: The way in which the letter was brought back into it when they visited the pilot in Swansea. That was the point where things really began to get connected

Howard (last edited Mar 07, 2014 11:18AM ) Mar 07, 2014 11:17AM   0 votes
For me, the novel hinges on Lily, who is so inspired by Douglass that she travels to America. I found the account of her life as Civil War nurse and frontier wife, mother and lake-ice merchant to be among the strongest in the book.

The most curious section was that of George Mitchell, where McCann's "impressionistic" travel writing is dazzling as always, but can't quite disguise the fact that the author must pull his punches, since Mitchell and others (Gerry Adams, Tony Blair, et. all) are very much alive. The Easter Accords were a great achievement, but we never learn how Mitchell really felt about them: I'm sure he admired some, and found others to be cynics, bloviators, and/or barely reformed stone killers.

I will never forget that first transatlantic flight. It was a grand "curtain raiser" and the section I think of first when I recall this beautiful novel.

Susan (last edited Mar 22, 2014 11:12AM ) Mar 22, 2014 11:10AM   0 votes
I was fascinated by the segment of Frederick Douglass in Ireland. Being of Irish dissent I have long been aware of the treatment of Irish born people by the British, but I was interested in the viewpoint of Frederick Douglas that the poor Irish people lived in worse circumstances than slaves in America. Also of interest is the situation of Protestant Ireland to support abolition in the United States while ignoring the plight of its poor Catholic neighbors.

On the other side was the George Mitchell segment which I found stultifyingly boring because it had more to do with his physical discomfort in flying back and forth and living away from home than with what was decided at the Easter Accords or any mention of the Irish troubles between Catholics and Protestants and why. I found it a very queer segment. I read the book twice, and twice that segment made me put it aside before I could get up the patience to work through it.

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