I am now a bit sad to have read all six of Colum McCann's novels. I know it will be a few years until I have the pleasure of reading another one. This Side of Brightness is my least favorite of his novels but I still enjoyed reading it. McCann's descriptive powers make anything he writers worth reading.
This Side of Brightness is about the men who dug the first tunnel into New York City. The work begun as W W I was firing up. The men, a very diverse group, who dug the tunnel were called "sand hogs". The work was very dangerous and very hard. The sand hogs bonded across national and racial boundaries. You were a sand hog before you were Irish, Italian, Black, or German. A lot of the book is taken up with the ramifications of racial prejudice. We follow several sand hogs as they live on after the tunnel is completed, through three generations.
Here are my suggestions as to reading order for his six novels.
1. Let the Great World Keep on Spinning. His most awarded book to date.
2. Transatlantic is actually my favorite but it is not yet as famous as the above work. It is nominated for The Booker Prize and has to be a strong contender for the 2014 Irish novel of the year prize.
Proceed on in McCann if you really like these novels, I certainly did.
3. Zoli - revolves about a Roma woman (gypsy) who became a well known poet. I am very interested in this culture so that helped me like the book.
4. Dancer - about Rudolph Nureyev, fascinating in parts.
5. Everything in this Country Must. - An internationally roaming but rooted in Ireland search by a man for his father. Parts are brilliant
6. This Side of Brightness 6th place McCann still worth reading.
What are your favorite McCann novels and stories?