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Haley Swanson has commented on (2) products.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spin

Haley Swanson, March 29, 2012

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann funnels the densely populated city of New York into the lives of eleven protagonists. It journals the experiences of seemingly different characters that are connected in uncanny ways. At the heart of the novel is French acrobat Philippe Petit, who walks across the World Trade Center on a summer’s day in 1974. This single event pulls the lives of the many characters together and leaves the book wide open.
Let the Great World Spin begins across the ocean in Ireland. Corrigan and Ciaran, two young and undoubtedly Irish brothers, are introduced to us. They journey to the Bronx and start up a life in a rundown neighborhood. Here, they meet an array of people. Corrigan, a monk, mentors a slew of prostitutes. Ciaran searches for a place in the strange city. The book gradually spins to encompass the lives of a New York judge and his wife, a young artist, a Latina nurse, and mothers of Vietnam veterans. As the novel says itself, “Everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself, each thing as strange as the last, and connected”.
Colum McCann uses his skillful writing style to take on the parallel story lines, each narrated by a different character. He uses eleven unique personas in the span of 347 pages. He makes sure to fully embody the characters- varying their voices, emotions, and thoughts. McCann also challenges himself by personifying more than a few women. He perfectly matches the feelings unique to a mother encountering the loss of a child. McCann contrasts this with a father’s grieving process. He also takes on the role of a prostitute. However, McCann’s portrayal is rather archetypal- one of the few disappointments in a novel that flips the world upside down. Finally, McCann’s brilliance lends itself to the characters of young, in love artists. This embodiment alludes to one of America’s greatest literary works, The Great Gatsby.
The novel’s end result begs the reader to see how the culmination of so many tragedies can produce something good. Let the Great World Spin spans across many other themes too. It grazes the immorality of war, the loss of a child, racial discrimination, religious pains, and most of all life’s hardships. In fact, the tight rope walker symbolizes just this. The world is a place “where there is still an invisible tight-rope wire that we all walk, with equally high stakes, only it is hidden to most, and only 1 inch off the ground” as Petit remarks in the novel.
McCann’s novel not only opens the eyes of the reader, but it asks questions about the very world we live in. This is the magic of Let the Great World Spin. You’ll find yourself questioning your own life, your own world. And even despite the tragedies of the novel and our world, we learn that “Sometimes there [is] more beauty in this life than the world [can] bear”.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spin

Haley Swanson, March 29, 2012

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann funnels the densely populated city of New York into the lives of eleven protagonists. It journals the experiences of seemingly different characters that are connected in uncanny ways. At the heart of the novel is French acrobat Philippe Petit, who walks across the World Trade Center on a summer’s day in 1974. This single event pulls the lives of the many characters together and leaves the book wide open.
Let the Great World Spin begins across the ocean in Ireland. Corrigan and Ciaran, two young and undoubtedly Irish brothers, are introduced to us. They journey to the Bronx and start up a life in a rundown neighborhood. Here, they meet an array of people. Corrigan, a monk, mentors a slew of prostitutes. Ciaran searches for a place in the strange city. The book gradually spins to encompass the lives of a New York judge and his wife, a young artist, a Latina nurse, and mothers of Vietnam veterans. As the novel says itself, “Everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself, each thing as strange as the last, and connected”.
Colum McCann uses his skillful writing style to take on the parallel story lines, each narrated by a different character. He uses eleven unique personas in the span of 347 pages. He makes sure to fully embody the characters- varying their voices, emotions, and thoughts. McCann also challenges himself by personifying more than a few women. He perfectly matches the feelings unique to a mother encountering the loss of a child. McCann contrasts this with a father’s grieving process. He also takes on the role of a prostitute. However, McCann’s portrayal is rather archetypal- one of the few disappointments in a novel that flips the world upside down. Finally, McCann’s brilliance lends itself to the characters of young, in love artists. This embodiment alludes to one of America’s greatest literary works, The Great Gatsby.
The novel’s end result begs the reader to see how the culmination of so many tragedies can produce something good. Let the Great World Spin spans across many other themes too. It grazes the immorality of war, the loss of a child, racial discrimination, religious pains, and most of all life’s hardships. In fact, the tight rope walker symbolizes just this. The world is a place “where there is still an invisible tight-rope wire that we all walk, with equally high stakes, only it is hidden to most, and only 1 inch off the ground” as Petit remarks in the novel.
McCann’s novel not only opens the eyes of the reader, but it asks questions about the very world we live in. This is the magic of Let the Great World Spin. You’ll find yourself questioning your own life, your own world. And even despite the tragedies of the novel and our world, we learn that “Sometimes there [is] more beauty in this life than the world [can] bear”.
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