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“A magnificient historial novel beginning with the first transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1919. In Ireland in 1846 we are introduced to Frerick Douglas, a black American slave who had come to Ireland as a triumphanter of democracy and freedom. I really enjoyed this book. ....”see full review » see other reviews »
“This was really a mixed bag of feelings for me. On the plus side, the use of language was excellent. The story, while seemingly three historical short stories, was tied together with a fourth story about the women from one family who were tangent to each of the events portrayed. I found it interesting to try to figure out the ties before they were very simply revealed with a tiny word or phrase or circumstance.
On the other hand, I really don't like short, choppy writing and this was the style all the way through the book. Please give me sentences with more than three or four words! Yes, they were carefully chosen words, but the technique really slowed down the reading. There were times that I could hardly get to another page, I was so bored.
I also thought the ending just kind of happened and I didn't get much emotion from it. Kind of - too bad, guess she'll die, but I don't care. I came away feeling like the author was more interested in writing, rather than in telling a story. As a result, I really felt let down. The big picture, looking back at the book, is not bad, but getting through it was interesting at times, but more often it was torture.
“http://writingnorthidaho.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-incredible-depth-of-green.html”Elizabeth Smythe Brinton wrote this review Monday, October 28, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a wonderful and beautifully written book. I didn't read the one about the skyscrapers in NYC, but I definitely want to.”Julie B wrote this review Monday, October 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was an interesting and inspiring read, particularly if you are interested in Ireland and/or interested in Irish-American history. I LOVED "Let the Great World Spin", and this was not as profouond or as wonderful as that, but I am glad I read it. McCann writes with lyrical beauty, and now I can't wait to get back to Ireland.”M. Mann wrote this review Sunday, October 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent! A complex tale of 15o years of intertwined characters moving back and forth between Ireland, the US, and Newfoundland, beginning with Frederick Douglas's 1840's visit to Ireland sponsored by his Irish publisher to George McGovern's Good Friday peace accord. Although there are several such actual figures in the book, the author is clear that all their actions that is not recorded is purely fictional.
Extremely well-written. Makes me want to read another book by McCann ”
“His writing is lovely, weaving stories from the dawn of transcontinental flight, the civil war era, the Irish peace accords, back and forth across the Atlantic in Ireland, Newfoundland, and the Eastern US. Recommended. Looking forward to discussing in book club.”Wendy wrote this review Monday, September 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“1919 Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. Among the mail being carried on the aircraft is a letter which will not be opened for almost one hundred years. From this event the author spins out many crossings and connections. Lives are interwoven in curious and moving ways.”Verna L wrote this review Tuesday, September 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a remarkable book on so many levels! It is original, exquisitely written, thought-provoking, educational (especially from a historical standpoint), and captivating. I listened to it mostly in the Audible version, narrated by Geraldine Hughes, whose Irish lilt and beautiful cadence turned an extraordinary book into a magical experience.
The essence of the book can best be captured in its Epigraph:
"No history is mute. No matter how much they own it, break it, and lie about it, human history refuses to shut its mouth. Despite deafness and ignorance, the time that was continues to tick inside the time that is." Eduardo Galeano
The author weaves concentric stories of mostly real and some fictional characters from two different centuries in a fascinating way that doesn't feel contrived. His story-telling skills are so finely tuned that he can squeeze the essence of truth out of such a complex and intricate layering of story and characterization.
Very few authors can combine ordinary words to accomplish what Colum McCann does.
"The children appeared marooned by hunger."
"He was exhausted. He moved as if some axle inside him were broken."
"What is life anyway? An accumulation of small shelves of incident. Stacked at odd angles to each other."
"The tunnels of our lives connect, coming to daylight at the oddest moments, and then plunge us into the dark again. We return to the lives of those who have gone before us, a perplexing mobius strip until we come home, eventually, to ourselves."
"The darkness dropped from the bent limbs of the trees."
"Three stars and a moon and a lone plane traveling the high dark. The wind came off the water as if looking for company, the living and the dead passing into each other."
Don't miss this book for a rich, sensual, deeply satisfying read.”
“A story of real events and their impact on generations of one family.”terry d wrote this review Monday, September 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No