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TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

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Numerous lives intersect in this novel, which spans centuries and continents, exploring issues such as race, political violence in Northern Ireland, poverty, and the carnage of two world wars.

The narrative’s historical framework is provided by freed slave Frederick Douglass, airmen John Alcock and Teddy Brown, who made the first transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland, and Senator George Mitchell, who helped broker the Good Friday Accords. Meanwhile several fictional women who are resourceful, courageous, and strong make life-changing journeys of their own. A letter with unknown contents binds their lives together, revealing that “we return to the lives of those who have gone before us, a perplexing möbius strip until we come home, eventually, to ourselves.”

This complex novel’s strength lies in the “tangled skein of connections” that binds the characters together, challenging readers to consider their own bonds to people in their past and the present-day consequences of their ancestors’ decisions. The book contains some profanity. (HarperCollins Canada)

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