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Let the Great World Spin | [Colum McCann]

Let the Great World Spin

It is August 1974, and a tightrope walker is suspended between the twin towers, watched by thousands in the streets below. Elegantly weaving together their seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the tightrope walker's "artistic crime of the century".
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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2009

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2011

It is August, 1974, and a tightrope walker is suspended between the twin towers, watched by thousands in the streets below. Elegantly weaving together their seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the tightrope walker's "artistic crime of the century." Featuring a stunning ensemble performance by the narrators.

©2009 Colum McCann (P)2010 Recorded Books LLC

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4.1 (9 )
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  •  
    Chandon Paris, France 08-30-12
    Chandon Paris, France 08-30-12 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself! I am a French woman and live in Paris. I love to read - I read almost EVERYTHING! I like also to speak English

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A GREAT PORTRAIT OF NYC IN 1970s"
    Would you listen to Let the Great World Spin again? Why?

    This a great book, the one you will always keep in book shelves forever! You will be profoundly moved, and when reaches the end you might want to read it again because it is such delight.

    McCann, fictionalizes a real historical event—the famous tightrope-walking stunt of a French aerialist who precariously balances himself as he walks between the two Twin Towers—and uses that event as the narrative ground around which he creates a host of characters you will soon become attach to.
    The tightrope event moves in and out of most the characters’ lives that have often no connection with the person performing the tightrope. But this event is the one which links most of the characters in the book.
    The follows the lives of a group people before and after the Philippe Petit performed his spectacle on a tightrope between the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Although, McCann does not feature Philippe Petit as the central characters, the lives of all of the main characters intertwine with his walking between the twin’s towers. The book looks at people from all walks of life in NYC in the 1970s--from Bronx hookers to a Park Avenue matron. As the lives of each of these people come together you wonder who will survive this vicious city, where people and souls seem to be eaten alive.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 10-24-12
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 10-24-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Poetry without rhyme!"

    WOW, I loved this book. You read it for the words, the thoughts that arise in you as you listen. You do not read this book for the plot. Maybe even parts are implausible, but that does not lessen the impact of the words. You cannot understand every line as you listen. Impossible. This is a book about life and how it whirls around you and how everything and everyone is interconnected.

    How can I describe this book..... it is poetry that does not rhyme. If I extract a few lines to show you, you will miss their import. They are part of the context, each line related to the next. Just as people are...

    Absolutely excellent narration. Some stories are fun. Some are sad. You get a perfect balance. You will not understand more if you read the paper book. To understand you have to stop and think and each one of us will come up with a different explanation. There is no right explanation.

    Do not be scared to read this book because you hear that is composed of different stories. It is, but they do all relate to each other. By the end you have learned about the lives of several disparate characters, maybe not every detail, but who they really are, what motivates and moves them. You see life and death and growth and disintegration and the world spins on with us little specks on the surface. But regardless of our smallness, we are each one of us important to each other.

    I loved this audiobook.

    There are many other reviews out there. If you want to know the factual details of who does what and the role of each character, read another review. Me, I do not advise reading this book for its plot. I will just say this: Philippe Petit and his tightrope act between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, that is today now long gone, really did happen in NYC in 1974. The rest is wonderful, imaginative fiction.

    ******************

    Narrators: Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, Johanna Parker, Ramon de Ocampo, Chris Sorensen, Patricia R. Floyd, Jim Frangione, Alma Cuervo, Lizan Mitchell, and Cherise Boothe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Davout Sydney Aus 08-16-12
    Davout Sydney Aus 08-16-12 Member Since 2005
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    "it doesnt get any better than this!"
    Where does Let the Great World Spin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    this book has a remarkable story and the ensemble cast that narrate it are a joy to listen to. Highly recommended and probably the first book that I would listen to again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Kate
    Co GalwayIreland
    6/21/10
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    It may be an interesting book, but the reader was so bad I couldn't listen to it

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Declan
    Tervuren, Belgium
    10/12/11
    Overall
    "A Great American Novel.. by an Irishman!"

    McCann has written a "Great American Novel" with a broad sweep of events and characters that are written with depth and invention. It's a big and complex book, written in multiple voices, as an audiobook it requires some investment and concentration to follow but, as with all great books, you'll be rewarded by the strength of the storytelling. The ensemble cast that produce the audiobook are excellent, the characters are clearly defined by the actors (I think a previous reviewer on here failed to get past the first actor.. an unfortunate loss for him/her) and, to my ear capture the variety of accents one hears in New York.

    I loved the audiobook and will go back to listen again before long, but be warned it's not for the casual listener.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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