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 McCann8217;s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author8217;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, McCann8217;s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city8217;s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the 8220;artistic crime of the century.8221; 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 8220;fiercely original talent8221; (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.From the Hardcover edition.
In this dazzlingly unique novel, which won the 2009 National Book Award for fiction, Colum McCann examines the trajectories of the lives of several people whose lives twist and converge around one man's transgressive act of courage--a tightrope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. While this figure is known only as "the tightrope walker," he is obviously based on Philippe Petit, who performed the outrageous stunt in 1974, an event commemorated in the popular 2008 documentary, MAN ON WIRE. In McCann's novel, this extraordinary feat initiates a chain of events which will forever alter the lives of an eclectic mix of characters, including an Irish monk, a mother and daughter pair of prostitutes, an artist guilty of a hit-and-run, and a support group of mothers who lost their sons in Vietnam. Like a rock lobbed into calm waters, a single momentous act causes ripples whose individual effects are more profound and more enduring than that of the initial splash. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.
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- Random House, Inc.
- December 4, 2009
- December 4, 2009
- Colum McCann