This novel is complex, involving at least 4 different tales, all interwoven by some sort of relationship to the action of a high wire walker. There are many different episodes, each narrated by a different voice. At least two of them are superb - especially the very first one, and a highly moving monologue by Tilley when she was in jail. Those two deserve a rating of 5 stars.
Some are not worth listening to. Especially one describing many, many very foolish worries by a highly insecure woman. Also another one that gave vicious and undeserved characterization to a group of computer nerds. Those two deserve only one star.
Other episodes are, of course, intermediate in quality. But in the end, it became rather tiresome to go tirelessly over the same ground, episode after episode. I was thankful when it was over.
Colum McCann is a superb writer, and this must go down as his tour de force - a vast, sprawling tale set in Ireland and New York, all pulled together by the image of a man overcoming gravity and walking, flying, dancing between the twin towers on a tightrope. The characters are largely unforgettable, their stories moving and authentic. This wonderfully read work kept me alert and engaged for many long car hours.
right up front: i'm not sure this book is for everyone. i think an experienced reader with an open mind can take on this very excellent story about the highs and the lows of life and be amazed at the interwoven structure of story and characters. highly recommended but only if you are up for grit, grime, and (hidden) glory.
All stories connected--as the characters also end up connected--to others in the book. Clever concept and well written. It held my interest.
I absolutely could not finish this book. It seemed more like a book of short stories rather than a novel. So, I guess if you like short stories, then it will work for you. I don't, so it didn't.
I enjoyed this book, but probably had greater interest since I had recently watched the fascinating documentary of Phillipe Petit, "Man on Wire." While Petit's feat is just a thread throughout the book, it somehow made it more compelling for me. I enjoyed the study of the variety of characters and looked forward to continuing to listen through its conclusion. Although it did not reach the level of "Favorite" for me, it was an enjoyable, light listen.
This book is beautifully written and narrated, but that wasn't enough. Let the Great World Spin had so many disaffected characters there was no joy in the reading.
I don't understand the high ratings for this book. The narrative bounces around from one character to the next in a different time and place where they sometimes interact. A unique reader represents each character, and female characters/readers overwhelmingly dominate. There is no plot, just a description of happenings and feelings from different perspectives. Most of the descriptions are trivial and uninteresting, at least to me. It is a woman's book.
I struggled through to the end, but I wanted to quit about half way through. I should have quit early.