Let the Great World Spin

With a series of spare, gorgeously wrought vignettes, Colum McCann brings 1970s New York to life on the page in Let the Great World Spin. His characters — an Irish monk, a Bronx prostitute, a Park Avenue matron, and so on — are held together by the thinnest of cords: the tightrope that daredevil Philippe Petit slung between the World Trade Center towers in August 1974. Yet despite its slim connections, the novel feels not discordant, but vibrantly whole. And as always, McCann’s heart-stoppingly simple descriptions wow: A plane’s jet stream looks ”like a line of disappearing coke.” A girl thrown from a speeding car ”was expressing herself in a patch of blooming blood.” A-

Let the Great World Spin
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