Whether expressing dialect or trying to evoke the emotion of a certain exchange, one cannot help but admire the way McCann's dialogues draw out sounds.
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The stories of Fishing the Sloe-Back River are a wonderful testament to a writer with an incredible ear for language. This Side of Brightness follows in this tradition of powerful writing.
This new novel captures all of the admirable qualities of his short stories and expands them. The long form of the novel suits McCann well in this generational story about one man's struggle to raise a family in New York City. The novel begins just after the turn of the century when we meet Nathan Walker, a transplanted Georgian working as a digger in the New York City subway system.
The story follows Nathan Walker, a black man, and his experiences following this life-changing accident through the century. The theme of race-relations in America is a recurring one as Nathan contends with being part of a mixed race marriage at a time when such a union would have been life-threatening.
Treefrog has is estranged from his wife and daughter and lives in the rafters of the tunnels, drinking and self-mutilating while obsessing over maps and plans. His shame has driven him into the darkness and until he faces his past, he will struggle to find redemption. This Side of Brightness is cleverly structured with a strong emotional pull as the links between the two men are hinted at like breadcrumbs on a trail.
Here are men at different ends of a century working at different ends of the physical world both trying to make sense of the life that they have been born into. As their stories become clearer and more linked, McCann draws out how random acts of chance can affect a family for generations. McCann has clearly heavily researched this book and at times, it can feel weighed down with unnecessary detail, as Nathan in particular sounding more like a character than an actual man.
However he is adept at bringing these unknown areas of a city alive — the labyrinthine darkness of the tunnels and the bright balancing beams of the city skyscrapers — and subtly explores how the men that built both the foundations and the great heights of the city are eventually discarded and hidden from view. As the lives of Treefrog and Nathan finally unite, the revelations are both heartbreaking and discomfiting. That said, Colum McCann is an astute and sensitive writer, particularly when exploring loneliness and isolation. Even the smallest of characters in this novel are well-rounded and expertly drawn and create a map of an unseen city populated with those who have lost their way in an unforgiving world.
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Irish Literature The colum mccann New York subway sandhogs this side of brightness tunnels. Like Liked by 1 person. Let The Great World Spin is a good place to start. Like Like. Ah, I must read more McCann!roscosttopo.cf
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Above ground, though, the men keep their distance until a spectacular accident welds a bond between Walker and his fellow sandhogs that will both bless and curse three generations. Colum McCann has taken the monumental force of the past and created from it a novel of wrenching emotional dimension, a novel resplendent with dignity. McCann's prose shines like the waters of the East River on a bright winter day. A dazzling blend of menace and heartbreak. He lives in New York City. Read more Read less. Amazon Global Store US International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.
Manufacturer warranty may not apply Learn more about Amazon Global Store. Review "Luminescent. No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. June 23, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. I was too enraptured to put it down, but too depressed to continue at times. This story is heartbreaking.
It wrenched my insides as I felt what poverty and racism can do to lives in succession. I am not surprised to learn of the sandhogs since their story is so much part of New York's history. However, what did surprise me was the nature of McCalum's prose. It is not eloquent but it is elegant.
I am a fan of Steinbeck, especially Grapes of Wrath and here McCalum's writing seems to echo Steinbeck's treatment of language. I paid little of nothing for it and I am almost ashamed that this is so. I had to put the book down at several points because the poignancy of the story touched me almost painfully and I sought escape from its wounds. Growing up in Atlanta during the civil rights movement means, for me, the issues touched upon in the novel are part of my memory, however painful it is for me to recall.
Although I was a small child, it made no sense to me that people with darker skins were treated with such disrespect. It still doesn't make sense but even then, to my young heart, it seemed uncharitable. I had friends that were black and we played together with such gusto and abandon that I never sensed that anything was wrong.
This Side of Brightness
I had some teachers that would try to separate us but this was always temporary and done almost without feeling, only halfheartedly. Children serve as an example to us all. Growing up in the Deep South with it's deep seated prejudices never impacted my own feelings regarding race.