Transatlantic by Colum McCann is a page turning novel that brings together both real and fictional characters across different centuries.
This novel tells the story of 3 historical events. The author keeps close to the main facts while fictionalizing the anecdotes, thoughts and actions of his characters throughout the stories.
The first story is a vivid account of the Airmen Alcock and Brown who pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. I loved this story and had wished it was longer, I loved the vivid portraits that McCann paints of people and places and the author certainly demonstrates his skill as a storyteller.
I also enjoyed and was really interested in the story of Frederick Douglass and found myself goggling to find out more about this man.
As we turn the pages of this novel and got more absorbed in McCann`s storytelling, we begin to see how he links the three opening stories of Alcock and Brown, Frederick Douglas, and Senator George Mitchell, with the stories of Lilly, Emily, Lottie and Hannah.
I was disappointed with the story of Senator Mitchell, I understand that he played a major role in brokering the peace process, but for me his story in the book seems a little displaced and flat and I am not sure that it worked.
The writing is beautiful and descriptive and I thought the balance between fiction and nonfiction was excellent.
I think this novel would make a great discussion book for book clubs.