|Let The Great World Spin – Colum McCann|
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Profound. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin should take a bow.
One of my favourite authors, Frank McCourt, has described this work ‘a symphony of a novel’. I agree with this description whole-heartedly. I felt like applauding when I reached the final page.
McCann presents New York City in 1974, at the time of the Vietnam War as a single living breathing organism and then deconstructs that into disparate parts through the intertwining stories of its inhabitants. At the epicentre is a single man, a tightrope walker, between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.
The character development achieved by McCann in less than 400 pages is impressive to say the least. These characters are gritty and real – McCann shows us this through their flaws. The characters individual stories are each in themselves compelling, and the way their stories intertwine poetic.
But McCann’s skill as an author does more than tell a story, he takes the reader on a journey. A journey that genuinely moved me. Why was I moved? McCann shows great sensitivity for his characters and for humanity.
‘Everything falls into the hands of music eventually. The only thing that ever rescued me was listening to a big voice. There are years accumulated in a sound.’
The symbolism used in Let The Great World Spin is brilliant.
Each individual, the city, the country, the world – all on a metaphorical tight-rope. This novel epitomizes why I enjoy literary fiction. At its worst literary fiction can provide a stage for an author’s self-indulgence; at its best, it is a form of artistic expression that has the power to influence thinking. In my opinion, Let the Great World Spin is the latter.
You do not need to have lived through the Vietnam War to be able to connect with this novel. If you appreciated the movie Crash, this novel is for you. I cannot recommend Let The Great World Spin more highly. I look forward to reading more from Colum McCann.
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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About the Author, Colum McCann
Colum McCann was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1965. He now lives in New York with his wife and three children. In 2009 McCann was awarded the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin (2009).
Other titles by McCann include Zoli (2006), Dancer (2003), Everything in This Country Must (2001), This Side of Brightness (1998), Songdogs (1998), Fishing the Sloe-Black River (1998). His fiction has been published in 30 languages and received numerous literary awards.Updated