In 1919, two British veterans pilot a Vickers Vimy from Newfoundland to Ireland.... In 1845, escaped American slave Frederick Douglass comes to Ireland at the start of the famine on a speaking tour.... In 1998...American Senator George Mitchell brokers the Good Friday Peace Accords. Darting in, past, and through these stories are generations of women...with sons lost to the civil wars of both continents. This is what interests McCann: lives made amid and despite violence; the hidden braids of places, times, and people.... While each story is interesting, the threads between them...aren’t pulled taut enough by shared meaning.
(Starred review.) A masterful and profoundly moving novel that employs exquisite language to explore the limits of language and the tricks of memory.... [A]udacious in format (hopscotching back and forth across an ocean, centuries, generations)... [McCann] interweaves historical and fictional truth.... The novel's narrative strategy runs deeper than literary gamesmanship, as the blurring of distinctions between past and present, and between one side of the ocean and the other, with the history of struggle, war and emancipation as a backdrop, represents the thematic thread that connects it all.... A beautifully written novel, an experience to savor.
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