Mysterious Book Report No. 114

by John Dwaine McKenna

Have you ever wondered about the word Genius?  What is it exactly?  Who determines it?  Where can we find it, where does it come from and how will we know when we see it?  These are just a few of the thoughts that come to mind when one thinks about the word and what it implies, or the status it confers upon the recipient.  The Oxford dictionary of American English defines genius as exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability, and after reading that, it’s certainly an apt description of this week’s author and his work of complex literary art . . .

Transatlantic, (Random House, $27.00, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4000-6959-0) by Colum McCann ties together America and Ireland through the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, using several different characters and their seemingly unrelated stories that the author neatly ties together to complete the transatlantic journey.  The novel begins in 1919, with the attempted non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Europe by aviators Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown, who make it as far as Ireland before crashing their World War I bomber.  The next chapter opens in 1845 in Dublin, Ireland as we focus on the lecture tour of Frederick Douglas, speaking about his anti-slavery autobiography.  In part three, the reader is introduced, in 1998 in New York City, to Senator George Mitchell, as he hops back and forth between New York, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Washington, D.C. negotiating what became known as the ‘Good Friday Accord,’ ending the violence in Ireland which was known simply as ‘The Troubles,’ but was actually a guerilla war between Irish Catholics and Protestants, fighting about the reunification of the island nation and an end of 800 years of British occupation.  Throughout the novel, the stories of these three famous transatlantic crossings are woven together with a poignant tale of a common, but extraordinary, woman’s emmigration from Ireland to America, to escape the potato famine of 1847 and her descendants, who eventually get caught up in ‘The Troubles’ back in Ireland.

Transatlantic is complex, compelling and a masterful novel of high literary art; worthy of your time and reflection.  It is a thoughtful work from a master of the English language.  Although it’s outside of our usual mystery and crime fiction genre, this one calls for all reader’s attention.

And while we’re at it, give some attention to your local library.  Don’t hesitate to participate.  Drop by today!

Have you dropped in and taken a look at our new and greatly improved websites:


you’re in for a treat when you do.  They have all new graphics and easy to get around navigation as well as places for your comments and reviews.  Check it out.  Go ahead.  I dare ya . . .

The Boy Who Slept With Bears is still being read and loved by readers aged eight to eighty and flying off shelves.  It’s a treat for all who’ve read it, so buy a copy at Amazon or any other bookstore in the world.  If they don’t have it in stock, they can order it for you.  And the same goes for The Neversink Chronicles, The Whim-Wham Man and the just released hottie, Colorado Noir! One reviewer recently wrote, The Whim-Wham Man is the most thought provoking novel I’ve read in a long time.  Another said simply of Colorado Noir, “I loved it!” You will too.  It’s a walk on the wild side of one of America’s most controversial cities.  Order your signed copy today by sending $16.95 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling to:  Rhyolite Press, LLC, P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO  80901.

Thanks in advance . . . and enjoy!  We’ll see all’a y’all next week with another great read.