Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin

A Novel

Book - 2009
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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * Colum McCann's beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit's daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann's stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author's most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the "artistic crime of the century."

A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a "fiercely original talent" ( San Francisco Chronicle ), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

Praise for Let the Great World Spin

"This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it's a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There's so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you'll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed." --Dave Eggers

"Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope . . . It's a novel rooted firmly in time and place. It vividly captures New York at its worst and best. But it transcends all that. In the end, it's a novel about families--the ones we're born into and the ones we make for ourselves." -- USA Today

"The first great 9/11 novel . . . We are all dancing on the wire of history, and even on solid ground we breathe the thinnest of air." -- Esquire

"Mesmerizing . . . a Joycean look at the lives of New Yorkers changed by a single act on a single day . . . Colum McCann's marvelously rich novel . . . weaves a portrait of a city and a moment, dizzyingly satisfying to read and difficult to put down." -- The Seattle Times

"Vibrantly whole . . . With a series of spare, gorgeously wrought vignettes, Colum McCann brings 1970s New York to life. . . . And as always, McCann's heart-stoppingly simple descriptions wow." -- Entertainment Weekly

"An act of pure bravado, dizzying proof that to keep your balance you need to know how to fall." -- O: The Oprah Magazine
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400063734
Branch Call Number: FIC McCa
Characteristics: 349p

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b
bpolivka
Mar 19, 2018

A great weaver of the lives of people with six degrees of separation. All tied together by the wire-walker on the World Trade Center.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

The story is written well, although some of the subplots have little to do with the main story. If one can look past the thin wire holding these stories together, and focus instead on the artist dancing on the line, then one should be able to find enjoyment in Let the Great World Spin.

w
Wong_Anne
Jun 09, 2015

A winner of the IMPAC Dublin Award - The author has based his story on an historical event, tying together the stories of 4 different people who witnessed it. I found the characters to be very well developed and their stories were unique. A pleasure.

s
stewstealth
Oct 04, 2014

A wonderful bittersweet look at life.

w
wishyouwerehere
Aug 31, 2014

Very best book. Wonderful characters and unexpected storylines.

m
mombrarian
Aug 15, 2014

Beautiful inter-weaving of characters and time come together for a satisfying conclusion. McCann is a gifted storyteller!

b
beatrice81
May 29, 2014

this book is damaging,heartrenching.i dont see how he could have told us all about Coregon and then tragicly kill him off,IN THE FIRST CHAPTER!!!!!i would not suggest ever reading it to anyone who can get very attached to characters, Colum Mccann is a SICK CREEP!!!!!

o
ohiostatefan
Mar 06, 2014

I'll have to watch the movie Man On Wire again after reading this engrossing and at times heartwrenching book about the intertwining lives of several residents of NYC in the 1970s.

kellnerm Dec 18, 2013

NYT re; Colum Mcann author

z
Zoomerofall
Aug 06, 2013

This is a beautifully written book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was the occasional careless use of anachronistic slang.

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ndp21f
Jun 15, 2011

The person we know at first, she thinks, is not the one we know at last.

n
ndp21f
Jun 15, 2011

I gave them all the truth and none of the honesty.

n
ndp21f
Jun 15, 2011

A row of smokers stood out in front of Metropolitan Hospital on Ninety-eighth and First Avenue. Each looked like his last cigarette, ashen and ready to fall. Through the swinging doors, the receiving room was full to capacity. Another cloud of smoke inside. Patches of blood on the floor. Junkies strung out along the benches. It was the type of hospital that looked like it needed a hospital.

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beatrice81
May 29, 2014

beatrice81 thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over

Bettylg Feb 04, 2011

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