Let the Great World Spin: A Novel
by Colum McCann
Kindle Edition-

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It ...

Overall rating:


How would you rate this book?

Member ratings

  "Let the great world spin" by christymg (see profile) 01/11/10

My book club loved it, but I didn't. It was a beautifully written story with some great lines. I didn't however feel for any of the characters and was not too interested with the story line.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by clounel (see profile) 01/19/10

Hard to enjoy - disjointed - I get the point of the book but did not enjoy the style in which it was written.

  "What a cast of characters!" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/13/10

Our book club had mixed reviews with several members not finishing the book. I think the opening chapter of 70 pages threw alot of members off. On the other hand, several of us did read the entire book and enjoyed it. It averaged 3.5 stars out of 5 for us. The authors characterization is quite remarkable! Worth the read but you have to stick with it at first. Don't give up!

  "Let the great world spin" by jwilker (see profile) 04/13/10

I thought the author did an excellent job portraying the different characters and then, interweaving their story.

  "Let the Great World Spin: A Novel" by ConniePowell (see profile) 04/19/10

  "Lovely Writing, But" by BSkol (see profile) 06/22/10

We all thought this was extremely well written. But, only half of us could get into it/finish it. It did make for a good discussion, though.

  "Had interesting aspects, but would have liked it to tie together better at the end." by drobinson (see profile) 08/10/10

  "Let The Great Wold Spin" by sweetee (see profile) 08/31/10

Let The Great World Spin: A Novel" by Colum McCann
It’s August 7, 1974, New York City. Philippe Petit performs on a tight rope placed high above the city streets between the World Trade Center Towers. This one event, which actually took place on this day in history, is the touchstone the author uses to weave together this masterpiece of fiction. The novel takes the reader back to the days of bra burning feminists, the remnants of Vietnam, the Nixon resignation, and the infancy of computer technology.

Colum McCann, a brilliant writer, assembles a colorful collage of characters in an allegory of profound depth. He uses pragmatism and poise to demonstrate his piercing observations and his keen understanding of the world. We not only get a glimpse into the life and planning of Petit’s aerial ‘crime’, we also get a peek into the lives of 10 other people whose lives are somehow inter-connected by this one spectacular event. A monk, a prostitute, a judge, a group of mothers who lost sons in Vietnam, and an artist are just a few of the disparate lives that keep the pages turning.

The ‘real life’ photograph on page 237 is quite affecting; a shivering sensation for me. And on page 325, (which takes us to October, 2006) Jaslyn looks at the 1974 photo she purchased at a yard sale. Taken on the day her Mother died, she reflects: “The world delivers its surprises.”…”A man high in the air while a plane disappears, it seems, into the edge of the building. One small scrap of history meeting a larger one.” " …the intrusion of time and history.” ... "The collision point of stories.”

I really, really enjoyed this book. Curiosity kept my interest piqued. This is a book to peruse; one that will permeate your mind; one that will linger about long after the book is closed.

Get it! Read it!
from my blog @ http://www.keepitsimplesweetee.com/books.htm

  "Let the Great World Spin" by Neyly (see profile) 09/03/10

Depressing and dark. I did like the tie-in with the tightrope walker and the interconnection of lives. However, overall all, I can't recommend it for book clubs. I think perhaps it has the most relevance for those of a certain age who experienced NYC in the early-to-mid 1970s.

  "No matter what the tragedy, the great world keeps spinning." by suebz (see profile) 09/08/10

  "Let the Great World Spin" by aperrigo (see profile) 09/08/10

Most of our members liked this title quite a lot. We agreed that it got better as it went along--you had to really get to know the characters and to get used to McCann's writing style before you could become fully invested in reading it. One of us didn't get past the first little bit, and we chided her! She probably would have enjoyed it had she stuck with it.

It's difficult to write a concise review of such a sprawling book! Two Irish brothers end up living in New York City. Through their eyes, and the eyes of many other New Yorkers, we see New York as it really was in 1974. One of the brothers, Corrie, belongs to a religious order, and he has taken it upon himself to serve the prostitutes in the Projects. The entire story goes around and keeps coming back to the young man who walked the tight rope between the twin towers. It's a satisfying story that comes full circle--if the reader will give it a chance!

  "Let the Great World spin" by emptynester (see profile) 09/09/10

Everybody in the group really liked it. Two people, just couldn't finished it. It was really good and all the characters connected one way or another. The first two chapters were hard to get thru, but after that the book was really getting interesting. good book to read.

  "Let The Great World Spin" by gigibebex (see profile) 09/22/10

We ALL really liked this book, one of our faveorites

  "Lovely Book" by dmc1230 (see profile) 09/29/10

This novel intertwines the stories of a dozen very diverse characters. There is a priest, a bartender, Park Avenue wives, an attorney and several prostitutes. The author does a skillful job of drawing the reader into their lives and showing how a single event brings their stories together. This is a tough book to describe, but it's a winner on many levels!

  "Let the Great World Spin" by danilynn1998 (see profile) 02/12/11

  "Let the Great World Spin" by susanj (see profile) 02/14/11

  "Let the Great World Spin" by Brody (see profile) 02/18/11

It grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn't let go!

  " Let The Great World Spin ; March '11" by Chapterscam (see profile) 03/24/11

Lots to talk about. Characters from all walks of life go through their everyday lives in NYC in the Summer of 1974 @ the time Philippe Petit attempted to walk on a wire suspended between the new Twin Towers. Amazing how McCann wove the stories/lives together.

  "A popular club selection" by smulcon (see profile) 03/28/11

All club members enjoyed this book. The many different character voices all have a role in moving the plot forward. Loved the ending which brought together many threads. Many topics for discussion including the real event that is the backdrop along with its more recent counterpart in this decade.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by taeibel (see profile) 04/01/11

I was really looking forward to reading this with all the hype attached to the reviews all through the front of this book. On and on about great story, great writing and so on. Well, I found it predictable and uninteresting. I figured out the connection between all these characters in like the first 20 pages. I also expected a few extra "tricks up the sleeve" in connecting the characters and even thought of one that would really have been a great twist. I kept hoping it would hook me, but it really never did.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by lrecuay (see profile) 06/02/11

This selection was initially a challenging read for everyone in our group, but we felt it was worthwhile and most actually liked it. It's no wonder this author has garnered so much attention and awards for this novel. His almost poetic writing truly seemed to capture the "voice" for all the many characters. Through their connection or lack of connection he shows us something not only about NYC in the early '70's but about the world that endures. Through the highs and lows of life through the social strata there were themes of balance, connection, the ephemeral moment and continuity - the tightrope walk of life that we all walk. This was quite a book!

  "Let the great world spin" by aluba (see profile) 07/20/11

Rich characters with a thoughtful storyline using a true unusual event as the backdrop.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by jkwolfe5 (see profile) 09/20/11

Not everyone in our group enjoyed--or finished--this book although personally I really enjoyed it. The various stories vividly depict the NYC that I know.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by Scoop (see profile) 12/09/11

This was a book that was very unappealing to me. I was overwhelmed by the length of descriptions, the contrived efforts to relate all of the characters stories and the gloom. In discussing this book with other book club members, some saw it as optimistic. I was not one of those people. Having spent a lot of time in NYC during the 70's, this was not the city I saw even though I knew it existed.

  "Let The Great World Spin" by mblasch (see profile) 02/28/12

Excellent book

  "Good Read" by diannem (see profile) 03/31/12

I enjoyed this book very much. It is about an event I did not know that much about. The way that the man walking between the Twin Tower's on a high wire's act affects so many people is reminscent of 9/11 for sure.
Some of our bookclub thought the multiple stories and characters were confusing. I read the book as separate stories, and since the ending kind of ties things up I wasn't as confused.
I would recommend this book

  "Let the Great World Spin" by comurray (see profile) 01/27/13

Interesting intersection of lives, connected by a common event in history. Brilliantly written.

  "Let the Great World Spin" by pbaraket (see profile) 08/07/13

Unusual book. I enjoyed it.

  "started slow but I was quickly hooked" by bookmobile (see profile) 08/21/13

I really like how characters were interwoven in the story of another. They are all imperfect no matter if they live on the upper east side or among drug dealers and hookers. Rich character development.

  "Interesting on Many Levels" by mmcbride (see profile) 06/25/14

This book is inspiring. It lets us imagine how often our lives intersect and entwine with others in ways we do not see and sometimes do not even imagine.

  "" by CathUnit (see profile) 04/08/15

  "" by STorg (see profile) 07/09/15

  "Beautifully written story" by zodejodie4 (see profile) 11/07/15

I got 114 pages in & the writing is really beautiful. I just wasn't very drawn in to the story, despite thinking that I would be given all of the descriptions I'd read. I've put it aside for now, but will most certainly pick it up again in the future. Such a beautifully written tome deserves to be read & done so when it can be given the proper attention.

  "" by mel29 (see profile) 11/16/15

  "" by Peggy1217 (see profile) 02/06/16

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/12/17

  "" by tag10 (see profile) 02/22/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 02/23/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/08/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 05/19/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/28/19

So many intertwined lives beautifully explored. Loved this book.

  "" by krilljack (see profile) 07/04/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/17/24

Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).



Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...