WHAT TO READ

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Let the Great World Spin
By Colum McCann

I remember feeling quite exhilarated after watching the documentary Man on Wire about quirky French high wire artist, Philippe Petit, who illegally walked between two newly constructed buildings of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974. Petit’s self-belief, audacity and bravado are absolutely infectious and I walked out of the cinema determined to become bolder. The 1974 event forms the spine of the equally exhilarating novel, Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. Lent a copy by a friend to read while I was in New York, I loved riding on subways or sitting in parks near locations described in this engaging book. The novel tells intertwining stories of 11 people from all social backgrounds touched by the small and big events of the time – with the remarkable Petit crossing the consistent reference. It touches on the Vietnam war, poverty, friendship, privilege, and the search for connection. The writing is beautiful. One thing I’d point out: I found the first couple of chapters hard to get into. But I was glad I persisted because this book is truly remarkable, heartfelt, and engaging. It won the 2010 American National Book Award so my recommendation is in good company. A must read.



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