Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nat'l Book Award

Just finished LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann.

Esquire touted this book as "the first great 9/11 novel." I agree. It's a kind of work that you'd like to go back to, a kind of book that reads like a story of private lives.

Though I must say I wasn't too crazy with the opening chapter - it was a bit too slow for my liking. Ok, sure, there's a guy based on a real French man named Philippe Petit, up in between the World Trade Towers in the 70s on, gasp, what? He was walking on a tight-rope, yes, a thin piece of wire way up high in the air with NOTHING to hold him except sheer will and the grace of the good Lord. Anyway, I still found that part slow. Then, it happened. The tendrils of the story piecing itself together through several different characters - an Irish monk in the streets of the Bronx, a WASPy woman married to Mr. Solomon "The Judge" that loses their son to the Vietnam War, a prostitute whose kid also turns tricks - mesmerize the reader into this strange and yet familiar world of New York in the 1970s so full of brass, grit and heart. It's a story of a city breathing and seeing through a bird's eye narrative (because the reader gets multiple and layered views of these people) how connected we all are despite the differences we perceive.

I have no doubt why this work won the 2009 National Book Award. Well done. Well done. Mr. McCann, you do the Irish proud. Hell, you do the American proud.

No comments:

Post a Comment