A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann is an all around excellent novel and also a terrific tome for discussion. Its many and varied ideas, characters and plot lines really engaged my book club.
Overarching this narrative–both metaphorically and literally–is Phillipe Petit’s high wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. This spectacular real life event is used throughout the book to place the story in a specific place and time. It also serves as a point of departure for the characters who are around then: How does the wire walk affect them? The cast includes an Irish immigrant priest, the prostitutes he tries to help, his concerned brother, his lady friend, computer hackers, mothers whose sons died in Vietnam and the judge who tries Petit’s case. Their stories and back-stories give the book a quintessential New York flavor; how the tales intersect and collide makes it very human and thought-provoking.
Reviewed by Christine