Literary Arts Series

Authors visit BCC

TransAtlantic Questions

  1. What is the novel genre? What aspect of TransAtlantic are based on real history? What new meaning comes from the overlap of fiction and history?

  2. What are the different types of flight portrayed in TransAtlantic? How does the novel juxtapose the struggles of being grounded in heritage, politics, and history versus flight?

  3. What is the meaning of the title? Who or what is “trans” as moving or crossing? What are the new or different types of movement TransAtlantic brings up?

  4. How do the characters overlap? What is the reason for connecting ordinary and famous people from history? How do their stories come together or depend upon one another?

  5. What is the meaning of the section titles in book one, including “cloudshadow,” “Freeman,” or “para bellum”?

  6. What is the meaning of the seciton titles in book two, including “icehouse,” “evensong,” and “darkdown”?

  7. Who or what is a “freeman” in the novel? How is cross-cultural enslavement a theme of the novel?

  8. Who is George Mitchell? How does the fictional Mitchell compare to the real life politician and why do you think McCann included him?

  9. What is the significance of the icehouse in book two?

  10. How is the story of airmail, journalism, and letters just as important as engineered movement in the novel?

  11. What is the significance of the letter in part three? Does it ultimately hold political, personal, or historical value?

  12. Why does the novel end with the Duggan families’ lake house in Ireland going through foreclosure?

  13. Who or what is being referenced in the title of book three, the “garden of remembrance”?

  14. Discuss the meaning of this quote at the end of TransAtlantic: “There isn’t a story that isn’t in part, at least, addressed to the past.”