Friday, April 30, 2010
OK fellow bloggers. You've all been here. This is one of those times where words just aren't going to cut it. How does one communicate an overwhelming sense of love, fascination, sorrow, and more emotion in general than will fit into my heart or my brain? No matter what I say, the only way to truly appreciate any work of art is to experience it first hand, which is what you must do with "Let the Great World Spin".
If you were an adult in the '70's, or if you are a recent lover of documentaries (Man on Wire), you may have some knowledge about a French tightrope walker who decided he simply HAD to walk between the twin towers in New York City. Just because the towers were there. So he trained and planned, and similar to a big bank heist, navigated his way through security, logistics, and timing to make his dream become reality. It is this event, a half mile above the ground, that is occurring in the periphery of a ground-level drama interconnecting the lives of ten beautifully flawed but precious human beings. An Irish street priest, a drug-addicted grandmother and daughter who are both hookers, a mother grieving over her only son lost in Vietnam, a judge, a hippie artist. They are all connected through one tragic accident.
McCann tells the stories of these people in such clear, vivid voices, you will feel like you have shed your own skin and inhabited their bodies. You are the 38-year-old hooker who only wanted the best for her daughter, and granddaughters, but failed to break the cycle. You are the ex-socialite artist who lost her way while embracing the drug culture, but now wants to do the right thing and is compelled to leave behind her old life to chase it down. You are the Park Avenue housewife who wants to break down all barriers of social status and find someone...anyone who can understand the pain of losing a son to a senseless war. McCann interweaves these lives, their humanity, and the irony of fate with such grace, that by the end of the novel, you want to weep with gratitude. Or recognize his rock-star status and throw your panties at him.
It is magical. It is profound. Likely you will profess your vow to read it again (soon). McCann's words will make you laugh, make you cry, will lull you into a trance, will draw you to a higher power, will make you want to become a better person, will change the way you look at the stranger on the street.
If you are an audio book person, you absolutely mustn't read this book in print. Not only is this book a masterpiece, the audio is as well. The voices are brilliant, a different narrator for each story, each an embodiment of the personality, no matter what the nationality or accent. It is 13 discs of pure, unadulterated entertainment.
Have I convinced you that life will not be complete unless you read this book? Can anyone explain to my why this did not win the Pulitzer? (no offense to the winner of course). This is by far the best book I've read this year, bar none.
6 out of 5 stars (can I do that?)