In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in best-selling novelist Colum McCann's stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.
Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author's most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.
©2009 Colum McCann (P)2015 Random House Audio
I did manage to finish this great story in spite of one of the male narrators I could barely stand. He did the voices of the guys from Palo Alto, among others. Everyone else was great, and it was fun finding out how many of the characters finally related in some way to another character.
Meeting the people. Not just learning about the character, meeting them in their lives right where they are.
Sam Peters, the youngest of the computer hackers. All of 18 years old and understands with a sudden clarity the connection that is more than just conversation.
It always seems that I notice the cadence. You can tell when someone is interested in talking to you, the lift, the pace of their voice. It is present in reading print, but it is undeniable in audio. The narrators seem to have not only read the book, but immersed themselves into the persons experience the are giving voice to.
The moments where those where the character was alone. laying on a bed, looking out a window, gazing, just sitting quietly with another. The most poignant was Jasslyn's last moments with Claire.
Reminded me over and over again of the quote from the 1959 movie, "Suddenly Last Summer" "...each day like a piece of sculpture, leaving behind us a trail of days like a gallery of sculpture until suddenly..."
Say something about yourself!
The structure of the storytelling.
The multi-dimensionality of the story, constructed as it is, makes the whole greater than the sum of its individually-compelling parts.
I have not.
The younger brother's unswerving compassion, throughout.
One of the few books that is better in audio form -- though I suspect it would be fantastic in print as well.
How the lives of all the very different characters cross paths
The dialect of the Irish brothers
Both--at different times!
Moving narrative from a variety of perspectives. Highly moving. A lovely portrait of human nature anchored in a specific NYC moment.
Colum McCann is one of the best writers of English going. Superb prose, and a rich, interwoven plot of vastly different but deeply connected stories. Spellbinding.
Parts of this book I loved, and parts I just wanted to get through... but I suspect my troubles with it were due to the uneven (and sluggish) performances in the audiobook. I generally prefer narration that disappears, when a single reader just reads the book in a lively voice (and PLEASE--don't "do" voices). When that's the case, the narrator essentially becomes my own voice internal reading the book, rather than a "performance" by a "cast." This story switches the POV frequently, and each time a new actor comes on to read--and I just found it distracting and annoying. Also, the narration was mind-numbingly slow. It's beautiful prose, but it's supposed to be set in New York, and no New Yorker speaks that slowly. (I had to listen to much of it on 1.5x just to make it sound normal).
It's a lovely story, though, with a diverse array of characters--some I would have like to have heard less from, some I wanted to know more about. It's beautifully written and captures a New York that I remember seeing, mostly out of my peripheral vision, when I was growing up along the city's edge.
I'd recommend the book, but not the audiobook. I found myself regretting choosing Audible for this one; I think this is just one that was meant to be read.
Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.
This book is beautiful in its intricacy and subtlety. The author takes one event in 1974 and tells the stories of many people who each witnessed that event. He ties together their stories with a quiet suggestions and traces of connection. It sometimes feels like a novel told through many short stories, and this method of storytelling works. Two Two things stood out for me. 1. It feels like a loving tribute to the city of New York. It feels like Mr. McCann traveled with me to a time and place and acted as my tour guide. I would tip him well! 2. Throughout the book I often fast-forwarded in my mind to 11 September 2001. I do not know if Mr. McCann actually meant to create a picture and a tribute to the World Trade Center but for me he did so, and I am grateful.
I spent one year of my life living in the crazy, frenetic and energetic place of this novel and I found myself longing for a return visit. Thank you Mr. McCann.
The cast of narrators did a wonderful job of telling the stories of these unique and diverse characters. I have no complaints.
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