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Let the Great World Spin

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Let the Great World Spin Cover

ISBN13: 9780812973990
ISBN10: 0812973992
Condition: Standard
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ERBrown , January 1, 2013 (view all comments by ERBrown )
Best book I've read this year, and I read a lot. The language is a joy to read, and the characters tear at your heart. Not so much a novel as a series of connected stories, and McCann is one of today's finest short story writers.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
dreena, October 10, 2012 (view all comments by dreena)
It's 1974 and an aerialist walks a tightrope between the twin towers. McCann cleverly pulls us into the lives of 6 other New Yorkers who walk "tightropes" of love and loss. What a ride. I have to read it again.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Magnolia Rando, April 19, 2012 (view all comments by Magnolia Rando)
A wonderful story told by several people who witness a tight rope walkers "walk" between the twin towers in the 70s. From Irish immigrants, prostitutes, dead beat artists, a support group for mothers that lost sons in Vietnam and more each person was somehow interrelated because of the tight rope performer. It was interesting to see the point of view from the perspective of each person. Especially the opinion of the judge of the Irish priest. The book was very well written and I did not want it to end.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Haley Swanson, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by Haley Swanson)
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”.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Haley Swanson, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by Haley Swanson)
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”.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812973990
Author:
McCann, Colum
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20091231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.06x5.30x.88 in. .66 lbs.

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Let the Great World Spin Used Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812973990 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

McCann chooses to describe one day in the life of New York City, the day in 1974 that the aerialist walked between the not-quite-finished Twin Towers. The chasm between rich and poor, the joy of connection, and the inevitability of our mortality are told through the lives of six different New Yorkers, including that incredible man dancing on that thin wire who epitomizes joy and triumph, if only for a short and precarious time. If you love New York, you’ve got to read this book. If you love the human journey towards the possible, you’ve got to read this book.

"Review" by , "[S]himmering, shattering....In McCann's wise and elegiac novel of origins and consequences, each of his finely drawn, unexpectedly connected characters balances above an abyss, evincing great courage with every step."
"Review" by , "One of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.... It is a mark of the novel's soaring and largely fulfilled ambition that McCann just keeps rolling out new people, deftly linking each to the next, as his story moves toward its surprising and deeply affecting conclusion."
"Review" by , "McCann gives a superb account of the walker's long practicing....And if some of his other attempts to elevate work into myth are strained, he succeeds with his image of a flight that lifts the heaviness of a whole city."
"Review" by , "McCann has written more than a supremely woven tapestry of imagined lives; through their struggles, he clears a path for healing and redemption from the cataclysm of a later time."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , McCann's most ambitious work to date offers a dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of life in New York City in the 1970s.
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