Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let The Great World Spin


Colum McCann's book, which had me breathless, the great swooping elegance of it all, has been deemed by more than one esteemed writer as the greatest book written about New York City.  I tend to agree.  The attack on the Twin Towers looms large in our collective consciousness -- it's a living myth or mythical-sized real life horror.  It stays with all of us, whether we were there in New York on that horrible morning, or whether we were home, watching CNN, worrying about our loved ones.  There is an image in McCann's book of wirewalker Phillipe Petit between the two towers as a plane flies over head.  It is a heart-stopping foreshadowing of the events that would occur.  Using Petit's 1974 walk between the towers as a central event which unites all the characters as they witnessed it, McCann manages to created a sense of foreboding, of dramatic irony even, as all along I imagined a crescendo of a 9/11 scenario at the end of the book (it doesn't come).  It's a book about flawed characters, all of whom, without exception are trying to do the right thing but struggling along the way. It's about love and redemption, rich in characters and layers and places, beautifully, beautifully written.   I am reading it for a second time now, eager to soak up every little detail that I may have missed the first time.

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

We were just talking about this man the other day, the wirewalker... I will have to check this out.