The Zigzag Trajectory Through Time of Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter addresses the ethical implications of TransAtlantic’s multiperspectivity and of the novel’s multidirectional, yet convergent, structure. Colum McCann’s oceanic storyworld is focalized through both male historical figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and generations of fictional female figures who use or are impacted by the trade route. Through the telling of fictional Hannah Carson’s overarching homodiegetic multigenerational story which has male historical figures encountering female fictional characters and vice versa, the work gestures towards a variegated whole comprised of all the aligned voices effectively assembled together. By combining narrative threads concerning slavery and Irish and African colonialism, TransAtlantic disputes the identity politics permeating accounts of communal trauma. The narrative friction between memoir and fictional testimony instead facilitates readerly engagement in historical debate.

Keywords

Abolition of slavery Irish independence Michael Rothberg Colum McCann TransAtlantic 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GuelphGuelphCanada

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