Goodreads Summary: 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.
Why I Read This Book: At some point I read some list on the internet somewhere that said this was a book people had to read, and I wrote it down somewhere and added it to some TBR list. Then, when I made my official 2012 TBR Reading Challenge list, I just added the first 40 books I had on my Goodreads TBR list. SO, with over half the year over, I was feeling guilty that although I had been crossing a lot of books of my TBR list, not many of them were coming off my official challenge list. I got this book from the library for that reason.
Review: When I first started reading this book, I didn't realize that it was mostly a collection of loosely connected short stories. I'm not really a fan of that style of book, because I hate only kind of knowing what happened to so many of the characters in the book. This book had that feel. I liked the POV switching, but I hated only getting the end of half the characters stories. Whatever happened to Blaine?
Otherwise, I did like the book fine enough. Lately I have been devouring anything set in NYC, and it was nice (and kind of depressing) to read about it in this time period. NYC certainly was not the city that it is today in the 70's, but at the same time parts of it sort of are. I don't know, it's hard to explain. Me and NYC have sort of become long distance BFF's as of late (although I'm not sure she knows that). In my 3 day visit there I decided I adore everything NYC there is to consume. I'm not sure this book really deserved to be on whatever list I found it on, but I did like it. It took me quite awhile to read though, as I was always supplementing it was a more fast paced book. I would recommend this to anyone who feels like picking through a book a bit at a time, as its not overly engaging. Or to someone who is in a love affair with NYC, like me.