Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin , International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Ambassador Award, Prix Deauville, Observer, FinancialTimes, The Guardian

Colum McCann is the author of three collections of short stories and six novels, including Apeirogon, due to be published in Spring 2020 His other books include TransAtlantic, Let the Great World Spin, This Side of Brightness, Dancer and Zoli, all of which were international best sellers Let the Great World Spin won the National Book Award in 2009 His fiction has been published in

[PDF / Epub] ☉ Let the Great World Spin By Colum McCann – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 456 pages
  • Let the Great World Spin
  • Colum McCann
  • Bulgarian
  • 10 September 2018

10 thoughts on “Let the Great World Spin

  1. says:

    In my classification system, there are books that are readers books they tell an engaging story there are books that are writers books they are creative in their prose and technically sound and then there are GREAT books that tell a good story through solid prose Let the Great World Spin the 2009 National Book Award winner is such a book The book shares the lives of seemingly random New Yorkers in 1974, and how their lives intertwine At the surface, they seem connected by what happens in their lives in and around August 7, 1974 when a man walked a tightrope strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center However, as the book progresses, we find out how their lives connect on much deeper levels This book rewards patient readers Impatient readers will find the first few chapters disjointed, with too many unconnected plot threads Patient readers will get to see how all these threads come together and come together they do, and beautifully so, in a way that reminded me of Cunningham s The Hours It s one of the reasons that, if I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be well crafted Patience also pays off for the reader in how the novel ends For me, the first half of the book felt very dark characters die, depressing lives remain depressing, and sorrows remain unredeemed But in the last half of this book, there is this growing sense of hope and strength And McCann s story about the connectedness of life and the audacity of living despite the hardness of life completes itself From a prose perspective, McCann has a writing style that was fluid enough to change its voice as it drifted from character to character, but was still able to retain its structure and feel Sentences are sharp and concise and scene descriptions always had this energy behind it Beautifully written, and perfectly crafted Highly recommended.

  2. says:

    This really may be the first truly profound novel to connect itself with September 11, 2001 and New York City, if only because it does so in such an understated, oblique, and poetically suggestive way It s also a novel that may take over a hundred pages to truly capture your imagination, but once it does, and once the connective tissue of the disparate group of characters starts to reveal itself, the novel attains a kind of hypnotic and edgy grace for its duration So richly and deeply are McCann s various characters drawn that one finally must marvel at how much he accomplishes in his 350 pages i.e., it would take lesser writers at least another 100 pages to render these many lives as convincingly as he does It s a novel about unlikely and often unknown linkages between people, and because some of these characters represent types who are most invisible and disenfranchised in our society it s a novel that enlarges our sympathies and our compassion or at least it should It s also a novel about those two towering beacons high in the clouds, the World Trade Center towers in their infancy, in a innocent time, when they could be confronted by bravery, elan, and artistry rather than by terrorism When the pedestrians look up to the buildings peaks to see a tightrope walker making his way between them, their eyes cannot believe what they see and we reflect on the buildings recent history, when our eyes also could not believe what they saw, and when the notion of falling from the sky took on all those horrible shadings When, on the novel s last page, one of McCann s characters reflects that, as humans, we stumble on we bring a little noise into the silence, find in others the ongoing of ourselves and concludes that it is almost enough, we feel all of the power this novel has been so patiently and inexorably building up.

  3. says:

    I used to really enjoy short story collections I used to read scary ones in elementary school, depressing ones in high school, and I even read trippy ones in college thinking I was cool But sometime during my post college years, my interest in them began to wane I don t know whether this can be ascribed to getting older, but I do know that I now get frustrated with short stories The time I invest in the setting and the characters, acclimating to the storytelling style and pacing well, there s not enough return on my investment I just don t have time for it any.Thankfully, this book is not a collection of short stories Rather, it is a single story told in a collection, and the collection holds together nicely Let the Great World Spin is actually the story of a particular place and time New York City, August 1974 It is about the lawlessness and drudgery of the city s inhabitants, it is about the angst of war, but it is also about those shining moments of hope and human achievement that pierce the angst and shred the drudgery to pieces It is about two characters in particular, one real and one fictional, who serve as a sort of lamppost for a city steeped in darkness and self loathing Interestingly, both characters are outsiders new arrivals from foreign soil as if pulled in by a city that needs just a little bit of light, please.There is plenty to like about this book, too its coherency, its writing style, its characters But once again, I expose myself as a sucker for imagery McCann uses metaphor like nobody s business and I fricken loved it I ended up reading this for our new book club on Goodreads, which I started with a bunch of friends as an excuse to squeeze even books onto my reading list And I have to admit, this was an excellent first pick.

  4. says:

    For a book that s solely supposed to be about characters.I thought all of these characters were amazingly one dimensional The self sacrificing wanna be priest The smarter than she looks hooker The rich lonely Park Ave housewife Nothing unique or original in there Reading it didn t suck really hard, because it s an easy enough read, and there are little splotches of nice writing and insight throughout.but all in all, I didn t get it.I also didn t get the whole NYC in the 70s thing from the book either But that might be because I m inured to the supposed grittiness of the city back then by now It all sounds so cliched What I did like about the book it made me close my eyes and imagine the Twin Towers and wonder and marvel what it would ve been like to watch a man dance in the air so high up, alongside thousands of other amazed New Yorkers RIP WTC.

  5. says:

    This won the national book awardWhich didn t stop me from becoming boredInstead of this you could try aDocumentary called Man on a WireIt s also about Philippe Petit s act Against which the cards were surely stacked To walk in the air between the two towersFor approximately 0.75 hoursOn 7th August 1974.By doing so he broke the lawBut the DA for once did the right thingAnd he wasn t sent to Rikers or Sing SingWhere PP s feat was one of funambulismColum McCann s is like somnambulismSmack head hookers, radical priestsMothers of Vietnam vets, deceasedNot so much New York as Clich CityAnd lachrymose where it should be grittySorry to say Let the Great World SpinIs the 12th novel this year to end up in the bin

  6. says:

    Reviews, in my opinion, aren t the right place for book reports, nor for nosegays of fanboy gush I m supposed to let the reader know why he or she should, could, or would want to read a title.You should, could, AND would want to read this National Book Award winning novel of grief, sadness, and loss because it s so damned easy to love and cherish these characters The Catholic monk whose vocation is to bring a whisper of compassion, in its ancient and literal meaning of shared pain , to the least and the last of people, the whores, drunks, druggies that we most of us, anyway do our damnedest to ignore the wealthy mother of a Vietnam war casualty, one of the Army s computer guys, a geek whose interest in computers led him to help develop ARPANET, whose grandchild you and I are using right now the tightrope walking oddball whose main claim to an entry in the Akashic Records is walking between the World Trade Center s towers.I love them all, and besidesTillie, the whoring mother and grandmother, whose entire world view centers on making it all just a little, weentsy bit better than it has to be, Gloria whose losses mount and mount and still mount but whose sense of life is that it s here, so s she, so what s a girl to do but laugh And Jaslyn Oh, so much hinges on Jaslyn, Claire s niece of the heart So much comes to its final, painful, joyous fruition with her arrivaland truly, ladies and gentlemen, at last here the great world spins.Really, nothing I say can impact your personal decision to read the book or not I can, and do, recommend it Millions of the maniacs on a mission who have already read it are doing just that I can only encourage you to support a writer who can create a character who says of her dead daughter s attempted savior They told me he smashed all the bones in his chest when he hit the steering wheel Well at least in Heaven hischick ll be able to reach in and grab his heart This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  7. says:

    A tightrope walker about to pull off one of the biggest stunts ever performed A committed priest too busy looking out for the downtrodden to take care of himself A pair of prostitutes who are also mother and daughter A rich woman crippled by grief and her stoic judge husband A couple of artists who fled the New York night life Computer hackers A brutal car wreck Slums Penthouses Robbery Charity It s either another day in New York, or it s the shittiest circus ever.In 1974, a French acrobat named Philippe Petit made even jaded NewYorkers take notice when he illegally rigged a tightrope between the not quite finished World Trade Center towers and then spent the better part of an hour walking it over 1300 feet in the air In fact, he didn t just walk the tightrope, he danced, hopped and ran across it as well as laying down on the wire on his back at one point.Petit s stunt momentarily captivated the city, and Colm McCann uses that event as the center of a web of intriguing stories about a group of people from all walks of life find themselves unknowingly impacting each other McCann shifts to a variety of different perspectives, even switching from first person to third person Whether the narrator is a male Irish immigrant or a black female hooker or a Hispanic single mother, all the voices seem authentic and unique and all of them offer up differing world views that still share a common theme of trying to cling to what they love.My favorite parts are the interludes where McCann describes Petit s preparations and the walk itself Petit was no Jackass style daredevil He spent over a year of careful planning and practicing for the moment when he and his crew could sneak to the top of the towers and rig the tightrope The descriptions of the calm that fell over Petit as he stepped out on the wire and then proceeded to put on a show for the New Yorkers watching far below is almost enough to give a reader vertigo just trying to picture it And of course, the shadow of 9 11 hangs over the book with the reader knowing that Petit practically walked on air at an incredible height between two objects that don t even exist any This is some top notch writing with a powerful story of how one man s desire for a transcendent moment can spin off into directions than anyone can possibly imagine.

  8. says:

    Have you ever heard Gershwin s Rhapsody in Blue That first low note of the clarinet that increasingly vibrates on the ground before it jumps high, high to land with a soft boom of drums and a smooth backdrop of horns, a building for the clarinet to continue on with trills and soars, till finally the zenith is reached and the horn sounds its own quavering, the robust tone completing that architecture first sounded by the leaping thrills of the lone clarinet.I am hardly the first to see this piece as a musical caricature of New York, but it is certainly a first for me to be reading and find my mind setting down notes as quickly as my eyes can scan in words In addition, I have never even been to New York So, what does it mean when an author is able to convey through simple prose the pulse of a city by appealing to a piece of work that, while in a separate sensory dominion, is as evocative as that far off metropolis whose sheer force of character gives it personality than can sometimes be believed It means they have a rare talent indeed.But, in my mind, this book is better than the music, and that s not just my heavy inclination towards literature talking Gershwin certainly conjures up the city, but it is New York at her best and brightest, just as it was masterfully portrayed in Fantasia 2000 s animated rendition As cheering and catchy as that sort of persona is, it is not nearly all of New York I may have never walked the streets, but I believe that the author created each character that does with thoughtful consideration, and importantly, empathy.Vagabond priest, graffiti connoisseur, prodigy computer, mathematician griever, tortured artist in the least clich sense of the phrase, the very embodiment of the words doomed by forces beyond one s control , and so many others All drawn together by the wire keeper, the sky walker, the acrobat that took a city by storm and followed a passion that, as whimsical as its beginnings, had by its end reverberated its way through the hearts of millions and the pages of history books This event may be the cornerstone, ferocious in its freedom and exuberant in its sheer existence, but the archway that encompasses it is filled with others whose raisons d tre are no less complex or beautiful in their individual craftships While the tightrope artist s story is inspiring, it is also a single side to the jewel of New York It takes the stories of all those caught up with the single event to showcase all the other emotions and turns of fate that the city has at its disposal Love, loss, pursuit of the broken dream, denial of the empty fate, conforming to ones lot life in every second that passes, judging others with every breath and not even the bare minimum of context Finding, despite all that, a small measure of closure, one that the author neither saturates for emotional impact, nor biases in order to pass along personal prejudices.Before I end this, I must admit that I didn t expect all this from a book highly lauded by the public eye Shows how much I know In fact, this book easily fits the bill as a gateway drug for the esoterically architectured pieces of literature, the ones with endless streams of sentences and many plots scurrying around a story that is concerned with structure and themes, and yet still has time to lovingly craft the characters sailing along the lines of print So, if you have an eye on those larger than life tomes but are hesitant on committing to them too soon, try this one Chances are, it will sing out in a joyous harmony for you as much as it did for me The core reason for it all was beauty Walking was a divine delight Everything was rewritten when he was up in the air New things were possible with the human form It went beyond equilibrium.He felt for a moment uncreated Another kind of awake.

  9. says:

    Oh god, don t make me look up I was only looking at words in a book, but the image gives me instant vertigo And I m NOT kidding There s a crazy guy doing gymnastics on a tightrope between the Twin Towers, a million feet up in the air All the other people can look up and are obsessed with looking up, in fact, which is totally beyond my comprehension since I have to stare intently at my feet , so what s with me I m afraid of heights, so I just can t look I just can t But how can just reading about this bizarre and incredible feat affect me physically, make me dizzy and nauseous The power of books Just blows me away.This book is cool It starts with a chapter about people looking up at the madman in the sky The story is based on the real 1970s event of a guy who walked on a wire between the two insanely tall buildings Sort of eerie reading about these buildings that no longer exist Despite my vertigo, the story pulled me right in.But now I have to go directly to my complaint board Because even though I was so damn happy to get away from the crazy man in the sky, I wasn t so happy with where the author led me next to a small town in Ireland Who says I want to hang out with two brothers in Ireland The contrast was too fast You know I love New York, and even though I wanted to avoid the guy on the wire, I didn t say I wanted to go overseas right then.The brothers bored me to tears and I felt no connection to them They ended up in New York, and one of them was a priest who helped hookers I usually like reading about squalor and down and outers, but for some reason their story left me cold What a downer, after the excitement of the first chapter But never fear, the next story had me mesmerized and mostly I liked all the other stories.Notice that I m calling them stories That s complaint number 2 I signed up for a novel, but for a long while it read like a collections of short stories, too independent I wanted dependence, I wanted connection, damn it It took a while for the stories to meld Finally, a little later than I liked, the stories were woven into a nice tapestry in fact, a beautiful tapestry.All the sudden I was in love with the book The language is to die for, lyrical and intense The story so juicy meaty, the characters so interesting and complex The interwoven plot is intense and heart wrenching And McCann is so damn profound, I was highlighting text like mad sometimes whole paragraphs, in fact.A cool thing is that McCann is able to use different styles of writing, and they all work There s stream of consciousness, there s a cool monologue by a hooker who has a fantastic voice that is wise, funny, and sad And then there s just plain eloquent and jazzy text that flows so well, I was just in heaven.Here are a few quotes It was hard to pick among the zillion gems.From the hooker s monologue They got businessmen come in for a day Whiteys In tighteys They lift up their shirts, you can smell the husband panic off them, like their wife is gonna come out of the TV set.From a Park Avenue woman whose son died in the Vietnam War No newspapers big enough to paste him back together in Saigon She takes another long haul, lets the smoke settle in her lungs she has heard somewhere that cigarettes are good for grief One long drag and you forget how to cry The body too busy dealing with the poison No wonder they gave them out free to the soldiers Lucky Strikes.One of McCann s many wise comments Afterward, Gloria said to her that it was necessary to love silence, but before you could love silence you had to have noise.I read McCann s short stories last year, Thirteen Ways of Looking I loved it too, which led me to this book I want to read of his stuff Absolutely.So even though I got bored occasionally with a character who left me cold, mostly I loved this book to pieces It s about love and grief and bravery, and it really affected me And it s one of those books that inspires me to write, makes me want to play with words I do think it s a true masterpiece.And it s not McCann s fault that I got dizzy though next time I d prefer it if he kept things lower, like ground level.

  10. says:

    A city with so much life in it that just a sliver of a fleeting moment a man atop a wire suspended between ill fated twin building suffices to display the budding emotion of the general populace And not one emotion but a hundred important to these people, for the while, in a very democratic piece of literature A true valentine to N.Y.C a jisgaw puzzle of faces that come from different places They all look up in awe we look down in equal amazement at the power of this grand American epic.

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