Sajda (Across the Words)'s Reviews > Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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's review
Mar 16, 2011

it was amazing
Read on March 16, 2011

Simply put, this is a beauty of a book.

When I first started reading it, I was a bit overwhelmed--too many characters, places and situations for me to keep track of. The book tends to jump from place to place, which can be a bit jarring for any reader. However, the author cleverly weaves all of the stories and characters together in the end. The stories are little moments of life really; fragments of beauty sewn together to create a masterpiece.

The language and style used is simple but heavy--every word is there for a reason and there is meaning behind even the most plain of sentences.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

What Corrigan wanted was a fully believable God, one you could find in the grime of everyday. The comfort he got from the hard, cold truth--the filth, the war, the poverty--was the life could be capable of small beauties. He wasn't interested in the glorious tales of the afterlife or the notions of a honey-soaked heaven. To him that was a dressing room for hell. Rather he consoled himself with the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same. He wanted, quite simply, for the world to be a better place, and he was in the habit of hoping for it. Out of that came some sort of triumph that went beyond theological proof, a cause for optimism against all evidence.

New York kept going forward precisely because it didn't give a good goddamn about what it had left behind. It was like the city that Lot left, and it would dissolve it it ever began looking backward over its own shoulder. Two pillars of salt. Long Island and New Jersey.

What happens if we make a series of paintings and leave them out in the weather? We allow the present to work on the past. We could do something radical here. Do the formal paintings in the style of the past and have the present destroy them. You let the weather become the imaginative force. The real world works on your art. So you give it a new ending. And then you reinterpret it.

Death, the great democracy of them all. The world's oldest complaint. Happens to us all.

There is no way to find a word to fit around this feeling. Words resist it. Words give it a pattern it does not own. Words put it in the time. They freeze what cannot be stopped. Try to describe the taste of a peace. Try to describe it. Feel the rush of sweetness.

The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.
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Reading Progress

03/16/2011 page 270

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ranna (new) - added it

Ranna Just finished this one. I wish I could highlight every sentence that I loved, but there really were too many.

Sajda (Across the Words) Haha yes so true! I think I'm going to reread in upcoming months just because it's so beautiful

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