It’s probably about time we agreed to give Colum McCann his own eponymous adjective. It would make sense, at any rate, to refer to a particular kind of audacious fictional gesture as “McCannian”. In his last book, the hugely successful Let the Great World Spin, a cluster of fictions were tied together by the sublime spectacle of Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Centre.TransAtlantic opens in similarly McCannian fashion, with another airborne overture of grand historical significance. The recklessly affirmative act with which this book begins is the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Galway, by the British pilots Alcock and Brown in 1919. It’s the sort of expertly constructed set-piece McCann is particularly good at, and his imagistically lucid prose nicely captures the craziness and excitement of the moment.