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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    141
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    14
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    3
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story

Not What I Expected - At All!

What did you love best about Let the Great World Spin?

Meeting the people. Not just learning about the character, meeting them in their lives right where they are.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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..."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Lushly written, intriguingly interwoven stories

I loved this book, and I am a picky listener. I loved the rich writing that made me stop occasionally to savor a turn of phrase. I loved the intertwined stories, although they did not go where I sometimes expected they would. The narration REALLY enhances the experience of the novel - hearing the various accents and voices really helped me see the kaleidoscopic nature of the story. Fabulous!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Narration of a Great Story

What did you love best about Let the Great World Spin?

The structure of the storytelling.

What did you like best about this story?

The multi-dimensionality of the story, constructed as it is, makes the whole greater than the sum of its individually-compelling parts.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The younger brother's unswerving compassion, throughout.

Any additional comments?

One of the few books that is better in audio form -- though I suspect it would be fantastic in print as well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

The great world spins

Loved it! Great book and marvelous reading by the narratives. This is a book worth every penny.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Let the Great World Spin

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes--excellent story!

What did you like best about this story?

How the lives of all the very different characters cross paths

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The dialect of the Irish brothers

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both--at different times!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A beautiful story-complex and rich.

Moving narrative from a variety of perspectives. Highly moving. A lovely portrait of human nature anchored in a specific NYC moment.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great story, less great narration

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Another great one

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Wish I'd chosen the book, rather than audio.

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Good once you're into it

It took a bit for me to get engaged, but once into the book, & especially after seeing that the individual stories were connected, it was far more interesting.

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