Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin

A Novel

eBook - 2009
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A rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. 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. A 38-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann's allegory comes alive in the voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the "artistic crime of the century"--a mysterious tightrope walker dancing between the Twin Towers.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2009.
ISBN: 9781588368737
Characteristics: 1 online resource (349 p.)


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Discussed July 2011

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Jan 19, 2021

Very boring, flat and predictable one dimensional characters. With the merit of following the perspective of so many characters at once, none of them have any real time to shine, to grow, or develop past tropes in fiction.
Also I feel like the author has some weird obsession with hookers. Sentences will seem to run on forever without stop as well.

Feb 07, 2020


Aug 02, 2019

Great author- try another book he wrote

Jul 08, 2019

Oh, this book. A big, fat, very stuffed piece of fiction about many (somewhat) connected people in mid '70s NYC. I got some whiplash as I spun from extremes reading it. I settled on 3 stars, but it's an average from the roller coaster of feelings from a 5 from some exquisite writing to a wish-I-could-give-it-a-0 desire to throw the whole tome out of the window. (Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook is my spirit animal.) What I disliked: the entire conceit that held the disparate stories together - Philippe Petit's tightrope walk across the Twin Towers in 1974. Really felt that didn't work at all. Could barely read the chapters centering on it. Also didn't like the heavy handed symbolism at times. And the unrelenting hopelessness that began to feel false. Sometimes the writing was so self-consciously "literary" that I didn't know whether to laugh or scream. What was good: McCann is certainly a masterful and skilled writer. He managed so many voices in this one novel that I couldn't do anything but marvel. His chapter centering on Tillie and the one on Corrigan's lover were astonishing: stunningly real for the first and exquisitely beautiful for the second. Bottom line: very glad I read this. I was in the right mood to wrestle with a book and exercise my sometimes too complacent gray matter. But I'll never look for another title from him.

Mar 19, 2018

A great weaver of the lives of people with six degrees of separation. All tied together by the wire-walker on the World Trade Center.

Jun 09, 2015

A winner of the IMPAC Dublin Award - The author has based his story on an historical event, tying together the stories of 4 different people who witnessed it. I found the characters to be very well developed and their stories were unique. A pleasure.

Oct 04, 2014

A wonderful bittersweet look at life.

Aug 31, 2014

Very best book. Wonderful characters and unexpected storylines.

Aug 15, 2014

Beautiful inter-weaving of characters and time come together for a satisfying conclusion. McCann is a gifted storyteller!

May 29, 2014

this book is damaging,heartrenching.i dont see how he could have told us all about Coregon and then tragicly kill him off,IN THE FIRST CHAPTER!!!!!i would not suggest ever reading it to anyone who can get very attached to characters, Colum Mccann is a SICK CREEP!!!!!

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Jun 15, 2011

The person we know at first, she thinks, is not the one we know at last.

Jun 15, 2011

I gave them all the truth and none of the honesty.

Jun 15, 2011

A row of smokers stood out in front of Metropolitan Hospital on Ninety-eighth and First Avenue. Each looked like his last cigarette, ashen and ready to fall. Through the swinging doors, the receiving room was full to capacity. Another cloud of smoke inside. Patches of blood on the floor. Junkies strung out along the benches. It was the type of hospital that looked like it needed a hospital.


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May 29, 2014

beatrice81 thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over

Bettylg Feb 04, 2011


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