The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.
Colum McCann’s novel “Let the Great World Spin” is set in New York City in 1974. It is a time when the World Trade Center is brand new and a young Frenchman, Phillipe Petit, takes upon himself the challenge of walking a high wire strung between the tops of the two towers. As he performs his feat a crowd of onlookers gathers below watching in awe. The crowd contains people from all walks of NY life. McCann plucks a few people from the crowd and weaves together the stories of some of these different characters.
Each chapter is told from a different first person perspective. Some of the stories are only loosely intertwined and told by characters that we never hear of again. The tales are often gritty and raw, exposing the everyday sufferings of the city’s inhabitants.
If you are the sort of reader that prefers novels told from one perspective with a linear straightforward narrative, this may not be the book for you. I have always been a fan of books that jump around to offer different perspectives so I quite enjoyed reading “Let the Great World Spin“. I found the novel to be well-written and the sort of book that I savoured as I read it. It was definitely a novel that left me thinking about it after I finished reading the last page.
Let the Great World Spin won the National Book Award for 2009. It was also named the best book of 2009 by Amazon.com.