Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

| /

One August morning in 1974, a tightrope walker makes his way between the World Trade Center towers, stunning thousands of watchers below. Using the true story of Philippe Petit as a pull-through metaphor, McCann crafts a portrait of a city and a people. Corrigan, a radical, young Irish monk, struggles with his demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gathers in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who have died in Vietnam, only to discover how much divides them even in their grief. Farther uptown, Tillie, a 38-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenaged daughter, determined not only to take care of her “babies” but also to prove her own worth.

Elegantly weaving together these, and other, seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory of 9/11 comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, drawn together by hope, beauty and the tightrope walker’s “artistic crime of the century.” Let the Great World Spin is McCann’s most ambitious work to date and has been hailed as an American masterpiece.

Harpercollins Canada: 2010.
ISBN: 9781554684830. 349 pp.
Softcover. Very good.