TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann


Human nature transcends time, ever offering violence upon the innocent, cruelty bred from war. Following a number of timelines and characters, Transatlantic explores the strifes of humanity, which echo on throughout history.

McCann’s subtle links and recurring themes underlying his plot certainly make for an interesting read. As the novel progresses, what at first appear seemingly unrelated stories become delicately intertwined, passing down through generations. TransAtlantic delves through history, shedding light on the unchanging nature of life for all our past ancestors, from violence to love, and hope to woe. Under the backdrop of an ever aggrieved Ireland and the fragile promise of America, McCann skillfully relates the hardships of humanity from a variety of characters, whose lives merge into one another’s in the slightest of ways.  


Though I certainly appreciated the nature of this novel, I did however found it difficult to truly immerse myself within, owing largely to its peculiar style. McCann exacts a jaunty, almost breathless prose, frequenting short sentences and lending little explorative detail into any given moment. While this does make for a seemingly harder hitting read in places, it does however hinder the development of empathy for the novel’s characters. The narrative appears as more a series of fleeting moments only hinted at, in which the reader is almost lashed with near bullet-listed prompts for their own imaginings.


Despite this, TransAtlantic is still a thought provoking read, in which humanity is witnessed in its true form, repeating itself throughout the ages.

Length: 295 (Bloomsbury)
Overall Rating: 2.5 stars

Like the sound of this? Purchase it from Amazon here.


Author: Jack Jakins

A recent graduate of history, now an aspiring writer and general cynicist

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