Let the Great World Spin

A Novel

McCann, Colum, 1965-

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Let the Great World Spin
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.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2010, c2009
Edition: Random House trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780812973990
Branch Call Number: FIC M
Characteristics: 375 p. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

"Philippe Petit’s infamous tightrope walk between the two World Trade Center towers was no better documented than in the 2008 film Man on Wire, but McCann’s wonderful novel uses this event as a catalyst of a number of stories occurring down below, including the individual struggles of a monk... Read More »

From the critics

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Oct 04, 2014
  • stewstealth rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A wonderful bittersweet look at life.

Aug 31, 2014
  • wishyouwerehere rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very best book. Wonderful characters and unexpected storylines.

Aug 15, 2014
  • mombrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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

Jun 19, 2014
  • beatrice81 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

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!!!!!

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.

Dec 18, 2013

NYT re; Colum Mcann author

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.

Jul 12, 2013

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.

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.

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

Did not finish this one.

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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.

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

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

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.


Add Age Suitability

Jun 05, 2014
  • beatrice81 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

beatrice81 thinks this title is suitable for 25 years and over

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


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Let the Great World Spin
McCann, Colum, 1965-
Let the Great World Spin

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