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Let The Great World Spin

This novel is advertised as a 9/11 book, a book about the lives of New Yorkers.  Yet Colum McCann, in an interview, describes it differently. He says his book is not only about 9/11, but “The story comes right down to the ground, in the very dark of night, in the roughest part of New York…That, for me, is the core image of the novel. That’s the moment when the towers get built back up.” McCann goes on to say, “…it doesn’t have to be a 9/11novel at all. It could also be just a book about New York in 1974 and how we are all intimately connected.” A major point McCann is trying to make in writing this book is that no matter how many different lives, different stories, New York City contains, it’s really a unified city. So in keeping with this theme, that New York is not a jumble of stories – but it is in fact one unified story – McCann chooses seemingly random narrators for his story, yet they all spin together in the end. It is narrated by eleven different people, most New Yorkers, all ordinary lives put together to form a tale of pre-9/11 Twin Towers and New York, yet written post-9/11. Where in most books there is a clear, definite, main character, there is no one main character in this book. When I begin to think that say, the tightrope walker (based on Philippe Petit) is the main character, I then think that Corrigan (based on Daniel Berrigan), the Irish priest living in the worst neighborhood of New York, or Jazzyln, a prostitute killed in a car accident. McCann so magnificently wraps together the stories, from pre-9/11 to post-9/11. The end of the book leaps forward to 2006, and is very tight and wrapped up – absolutely no loose ends. Yes, in a way this was extremely satisfying, and a nice conclusion. But in another, the reader is thinking in the back of their mind, there is no way real life is this perfect. And it isn’t. It almost felt wrong because of the perfect yet imperfectness of it all. Still, it was a breathtakingly beautiful portrait of New York City, and I highly recommend reading it (In 2009, it received the National Book Award for fiction!). Rating: ★★★★

The Invisible Wall

Super Sad True Love Story