Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann

I was drawn to this book based on its setting in 1970s New York City, specifically set around the day Philippe Petit made his World Trade Center tightrope walk; curiously the tightrope interludes in the book felt mostly unnecessary and distracting. The shorter sections that only have the tightrope connection to tie them with the rest of the book hence feel entirely disconnected.

Despite that, there remain several entwined stories that build well together through the book, even when voiced through less than sympathetic characters. McCann captured a range of experiences convincingly. It was a bit of a tough book as the first section felt the most compelling and ended quite dramatically. It made it feel like the climax comes in the first 70 pages, and then it’s a long, difficult resolution, with brief moments of reunion with characters directly connected to that first section. But contextually, that might actually make sense.