Eric's Reviews > Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
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Jun 20, 11

Read in January, 2010

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 more 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' more 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.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Elizabeth Grant Love the way you write about this beautiful book.

message 2: by Laurie (new)

Laurie haven't read it yet ...but love the title
just sit back and let it spin on and on like "a tale told by a mad man full of dound and fury signifying nothing"

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