Let the Great World Spin

A Novel
McCann, Colum, 1965- (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Let the Great World Spin

Item Details

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 gathers 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 mother 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's description.
Authors: McCann, Colum, 1965-
Statement of Responsibility: Colum McCann
Title: Let the great world spin
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, 2010, c2009
Edition: Random House trade pbk. ed
Characteristics: 375 p. ;,21 cm.
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Report This Mar 09, 2014
  • ohiostatefan rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I'll have to watch the movie Man On Wire again after reading this engrossing and at times heartwrenching book about the intertwining lives of several residents of NYC in the 1970s.

NYT re; Colum Mcann author

Report This Aug 06, 2013
  • Zoomerofall rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a beautifully written book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was the occasional careless use of anachronistic slang.

Must agree with jacket reviewers. Captivating. I could follow and remember the characters and their relationships even when the opening sentences of their monologues weren't obviously identified. Really enjoyed this book.

Report This Jun 11, 2013
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

McCann very cleverly uses the 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers to paint a picture of New York City in the 1970s through various narratives and intersecting stories of people who saw or were somehow connected with the tightrope walk. While some parts of the novel are very well written, it is totally apolitical and ignores the driving forces of this decade. The characters and stories he chooses are not at all representative or illuminating.

Report This Dec 12, 2012
  • queensgirl1963 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Did not finish this one.

Report This Jul 14, 2012
  • snkattk rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Brilliant book. An extraordinary act (see Man on Wire after reading this) paralleled with 'ordinary' characters who are the true focal point as the heartaches the live with are beautifully described, ultimately revealing our interconnectedness.

Report This Jun 25, 2012
  • taylori rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The opening is brilliant, exciting writing (four to five star!). Then at times the writer lapses into a mundane, seemingly different writing style. Think of the book as more New York in the 1970's rather than monks, prostitutes and Vietnam and it keeps you very interested.

Report This Oct 17, 2011
  • Spence41 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book! The lives of a dozen or so New Yorkers in 1974 are brought together by two things: a similarity in their struggles that forces them to realize life continues forward despite incredible loss and by an unbelievable vision, a man walking, dancing, leaping in the air on a wire strung between NYC's twin towers. The day is a pivotal one in their lives. Colum McCann does a beautiful job of weaving their stories together. Brilliant! A masterpiece!

Report This Aug 16, 2011
  • 21288004105371 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Pretty disappointed with book. Good writing, but found the subject matter pretty bleak. Also, not enough dialogue so found it pretty slow through parts.

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Report This Feb 04, 2011
  • Bettylg rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


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Report This Jun 15, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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

Report This Jun 15, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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

Report This Jun 15, 2011
  • ndp21f rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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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Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann answers questions about his Novel, Let the Great World Spin in this promotional video issue by Random House.

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McCann, Colum, 1965-
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