Monday, May 12, 2014

Let the Great World Spin

Author:  Colum McCann
Narrators:  Numerous
Publisher: Recorded Books
Year:  2009

Goodreads Description:

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.

This is a beautifully written book that is not at all what I was expecting. First off, for some reason, I thought this was going to be nonfiction and it's not. Truth be told, I bought the audiobook without even reading the description. I'd just heard so many people talking about what a great book it was and it was on a sale. I ended up being impressed with the way Colum McCann was able to tell all these interlocking stories with one common theme - they each happened around the tightrope walking between the Twin Towers. 

I almost wish I'd read this book as at times I got lost in the audiobook. I wouldn't realize that narrators had changed and would have to rewind a bit to find out what happened. All the narrators did a wonderful job and one of them (whose name I couldn't figure out) did an amazing job. But I still felt like I missed something by doing an audiobook.


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