Tuesday, June 8, 2010

72 - Let the Great World Spin; Colum McCann














I was a little hesitant to read this book, but peer pressure won over, and I am so happy I caved. This is one "audio book" that is just terrific. It is read by a full cast : Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, Johanna Parker, Ramon de OCampo, Chris Sorenson and Patricia Floyd. The story begins on a summer morning in 1974, in New York City as a man balances on high above on a tight rope between the Twin Towers in NYC. As people below stare up in disbelief, the lives of other every day people continue on as usual.

The novel is almost like a series of short stories, but before long their stories begin to connect: a Jesuit priest, a judge, a prostitute, a wealthy, but grieving Park Avenue woman are a few of the characters that appealed to me.  My favorite story/character was Tillie, a prostitute, down on her luck, and now in jail reflecting on her life and that of her grandchildren.  (You MUST listen to the audio version to fully appreciate all that Tillie has experienced).

Without going into the details about all of the stories, I'd just like to say that this was such a beautiful novel. It was about human beings -- their every day struggles, and the circumstances and vulnerabilities that make all of us who we are. Each unique character was captured perfectly, as the author skillfully weaves together the dysfunctional lives of some of the most memorable people I've met, through a book, in a long time.  For me, truly a sign of an exceptional literary work.  McCann shows NYC at its finest and at its worst: all classes, all races -- all truly memorable.  Toward the end of the book, although 9/11 is not mentioned, the story jumps to 2005 with a story about the war in Iraq and references to airport security etc,.  It was here that I was reminded of just how precious our days are, and just how connected each of us are no matter where we reside.

Read this Book, better yet listen to the audio version. I doubt that you will be disappointed.

RATING - 5/5 stars - Library audio book

21 comments:

  1. So glad you enjoyed this one!! I absolutely loved it. It really felt like I stepped into each character's shoes for a little bit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved how McCann tied the stories in together with each other and with the story of the tightrope walker. Speaking of which, I just watched a documentary about the real thing--"Man on Wire." Very good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for highlighting an unknown book for me. I will keep an eye out for this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I recently bought a copy of this book and am really looking forward to reading it. It is good to know that the audio version is great, but I struggle to get hold of audio copies and it takes forever for me to listen to them :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved this, too. What an experience the audio version is!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The reviews for this book seem to be mixed. Maybe the audio version is better since it's read by a full cast.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope to get to this one soon. I keep hearing wonderful things about it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have this on my shelf and I am really excited about getting to it. I am so glad that you enjoyed it and that it engrossed you. I know I am going to love it as well. Great review!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Glad you enjoyed this one. I might have to give the audio a try for a re-read.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I read this one about a year ago (while on vacation- my hubby coulnd't believe that I was READING on VACATION, LOL!!!). I remember being impressed about how the stories converged, even though at the beginning of it all I thought that there was no way that they connected. I'm glad you had a chance to listen to this one!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't wait--I'm on the library's list for this audio, and I am really getting antsy. I'm sure I'll get a lot of exercise (my primary audio time) listening. Thanks for letting us know how great it is.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Humm... wonder if I would have liked it better as an audio? I thought his language was beautiful at places, but the characters just didn't come alive for me. But, with a variety of readers, they probably would more so. Maybe I'll pick it up if our library gets it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I bought a copy of the book as a result of peer pressure and am looking forward to reading it. I am glad you enjoyed it, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I loved the stories connecting, even though there were a couple that did not really connect. I enjoyed the writing very much but I think I would have enjoyed the audio book so much more. It would be great to hear the voices sounded out loud, especially Jazzy and her mother.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Glad to see that peer pressure paid off!! I've been sucked in too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This one is on my list. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I honestly have felt like this is one that I would not enjoy at all...you've made me think about this one. I may have to pick it up this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This book is so well-reviewed - I really must try it. I think you hooked me in with the grandmother/prostitute :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I've heard quite a few mixed reviews but I definitely want to read it. Sounds like an unusual and interesting premise.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The thing is the way the stories coverge is typical of city life. I lived in San Francisco for just about 15 years and soon found it was like a very big village. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone else--you're never very far from events.

    I know San Francisco is much smaller than New York, but I'll this village feeling extends even to Manhattan. I've been to New York five different times and have run in to people I know from San Francisco there twice.

    It's a small world. And a wonderful book.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm so glad you recommended the audio. I sometimes don't like when an sudio book has a full cast, but this sounds like it might be an exception for me.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)