by Colum McCann
Hardcover, 320 pages
The book begins with three transatlantic crossings, each a novella within a novel: Frederick Douglas’s 1845 visit to Ireland; the 1919 flight of British aviators Alcock and Brown; and former US senator George Mitchell’s 1998 attempt to mediate peace in Northern Ireland. McCann then loops back to 1863 to launch the saga of the women we’ve briefly met throughout Book One, beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, whose bold escape from her troubled homeland cracks open the world for her daughter and granddaughter. McCann’s sixth novel is a brilliant tribute to his lyrical and complicated Irish homeland, and an ode to the ties that bind Ireland and America. McCann's writing style is challenging and beautiful - sometimes reading more like poetry than prose.