NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • Colum McCann’s beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt 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 is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people. Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic. “This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There’s so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”—Dave Eggers “Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope . . . It’s a novel rooted firmly in time and place. It vividly captures New York at its worst and best. But it transcends all that. In the end, it’s a novel about families—the ones we’re born into and the ones we make for ourselves.”—USA Today “Mesmerizing . . . a Joycean look at the lives of New Yorkers changed by a single act on a single day . . . McCann’s marvelously rich novel . . . weaves a portrait of a city and a moment, dizzyingly satisfying to read and difficult to put down.”—The Seattle Times “Vibrantly whole . . . With a series of spare, gorgeously wrought vignettes, Colum McCann brings 1970s New York to life. . . . And as always, McCann’s heart-stoppingly simple descriptions wow.”—Entertainment Weekly “An act of pure bravado, dizzying proof that to keep your balance you need to know how to fall.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS In the National Book Award–winning Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann thrilled readers with a marvelous high-wire act of fiction that The New York Times Book Review called “an emotional tour de force.” Now McCann demonstrates once again why he is one of the most acclaimed and essential authors of his generation with a soaring novel that spans continents, leaps centuries, and unites a cast of deftly rendered characters, both real and imagined. Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators—Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown—set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, placing their trust in a modified bomber to heal the wounds of the Great War. Dublin, 1845 and ’46. On an international lecture tour in support of his subversive autobiography, Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause—despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave. New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him, the son of an Irish-American father and a Lebanese mother, to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion. These three iconic crossings are connected by a series of remarkable women whose personal stories are caught up in the swells of history. Beginning with Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, who crosses paths with Frederick Douglass, the novel follows her daughter and granddaughter, Emily and Lottie, and culminates in the present-day story of Hannah Carson, in whom all the hopes and failures of previous generations live on. From the loughs of Ireland to the flatlands of Missouri and the windswept coast of Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history. They each learn that even the most unassuming moments of grace have a way of rippling through time, space, and memory. The most mature work yet from an incomparable storyteller, TransAtlantic is a profound meditation on identity and history in a wide world that grows somehow smaller and more wondrous with each passing year. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. “A dazzlingly talented author’s latest high-wire act . . . Reminiscent of the finest work of Michael Ondaatje and Michael Cunningham, TransAtlantic is Colum McCann’s most penetrating novel yet.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “One of the greatest pleasures of TransAtlantic is how provisional it makes history feel, how intimate, and intensely real. . . . Here is the uncanny thing McCann finds again and again about the miraculous: that it is inseparable from the everyday.”—The Boston Globe “Ingenious . . . The intricate connections [McCann] has crafted between the stories of his women and our men [seem] written in air, in water, and—given that his subject is the confluence of Irish and American history—in blood.”—Esquire “Another sweeping, beautifully constructed tapestry of life . . . Reading McCann is a rare joy.”—The Seattle Times “Entrancing . . . McCann folds his epic meticulously into this relatively slim volume like an accordion; each pleat holds music—elation and sorrow.”—The Denver Post From the Trade Paperback edition.
I hope there is something here for any young writer – or any older writer, for that matter – who happens to be looking for a teacher to come along, a teacher who, in the end, can really teach nothing at all but fire. From the critically acclaimed Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin, comes a paean to the power of language, and a direct address to the artistic, professional and philosophical concerns that challenge and sometimes torment an author. Comprising fifty-two short prose pieces, Letters to a Young Writer ranges from practical matters of authorship, such as finding an agent, the pros and cons of creative writing degrees and handling bad reviews, through to the more joyous and celebratory, as McCann elucidates the pleasures to be found in truthful writing, for: 'the best writing makes us glad that we are – however briefly – alive.' Emphatic and empathetic, pragmatic and profound, this is an essential companion to any author's journey – and a deeply personal work from one of our greatest literary voices.
A unique love story, a tale of loss, a parable of Europe, this haunting novel is an examination of intimacy and betrayal in a community rarely captured so vibrantly in contemporary literature. Zoli Novotna, a young woman raised in the traveling Gypsy tradition, is a poet by accident as much as desire. As 1930s fascism spreads over Czechoslovakia, Zoli and her grandfather flee to join a clan of fellow Romani harpists. Sharpened by the world of books, which is often frowned upon in the Romani tradition, Zoli becomes the poster girl for a brave new world. As she shapes the ancient songs to her times, she finds her gift embraced by the Gypsy people and savored by a young English expatriate, Stephen Swann. But Zoli soon finds that when she falls she cannot fall halfway–neither in love nor in politics. While Zoli’s fame and poetic skills deepen, the ruling Communists begin to use her for their own favor. Cast out from her family, Zoli abandons her past to journey to the West, in a novel that spans the 20th century and travels the breadth of Europe. Colum McCann, acclaimed author of Dancer and This Side of Brightness, has created a sensuous novel about exile, belonging and survival, based loosely on the true story of the Romani poet Papsuza. It spans the twentieth century and travels the breadth of Europe. In the tradition of Steinbeck, Coetzee, and Ondaatje, McCann finds the art inherent in social and political history, while vividly depicting how far one gifted woman must journey to find where she belongs. Praise for Zoli “Soaring and stumbling over decades of midcentury Eastern Europe, Zoli is a riveting novel.”—Gail Caldwell, Boston Sunday Globe “Beautifully written . . . Beautifully conceived, wonderfully told, the story is proof of an indomitable spirit. The elusive character of Zoli, the brilliang artist, is unforgettable.”—The Washington Post Book World BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Colum McCann's TransAtlantic.
Combining literary analysis with a practical introduction to interdisciplinary literary geography, Literary Geograp hie s examines key elements of Colum McCann's 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spi n . Hones examines concepts such as narrative space, literary and academic collaboration, and the geographies of creation, production, and reception.
An American masterpiece from internationally bestselling novelist Colum McCann - a dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of New York City in the 1970s In the dawning light of the late summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. . . . It is August, 1974, and a tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile in the sky. In the streets below, ordinary lives become extraordinary as award-winning novelist Colum McCann crafts this stunningly realized portrait of a city and its people. Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among prostitutes in the Bronx. A group of mothers, gathered in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn the sons who died in Vietnam, discovers how much divides them even in their grief. Further uptown, Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenaged daughter, determined not only to take care of her 'babies' but to prove her own worth. Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the tightrope walker's 'artistic crime of the century.' McCann's most ambitious work to date, Let the Great World Spin is an unmistakable and triumphantly American masterpiece.
A “beautifully crafted” novel of two sisters’ lives, spanning from 1950s Ireland to modern-day America (Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin). Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in west Ireland. Yet one day she found herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister, Johanna, and a boy named Michael Ward, a son of itinerant tinkers. Back home, her family hadn’t expressed much confidence in her abilities, but Greta discovers that in America she can fall in love, earn a living, and build a life. She longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself—but that could mean revealing a secret about her past to her children. So she carefully keeps her life in New York separate from the life she once loved in Ireland, torn from the people she is closest to. Decades later, she discovers that her children, with the best of intentions, have conspired to unite the worlds she has so painstakingly kept apart. And though the Ireland of her memory may bear little resemblance to that of present day, she fears it is still possible to lose all . . . “A compelling drama of transatlantic Irish life.” —Billy Collins “Marries a deliciously old-fashioned style of storytelling with a fresh take on the immigrant experience . . . A warm, involving family drama.” —Booklist
The author explores her mother’s marriage—and fourteen pregnancies—in this “powerful memoir” (Ebony). One of Oprah.com’s Best Memoirs of the Year Winner of the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction Tracing the four days between the moment she gets the dreaded call and the burial of her mother, Elizabeth Nunez tells of her lifelong struggle to cope with her parents’ ambitions for their children—and her mother’s seemingly unbreakable conviction that displays of affection are not for everyday use. Yet Nunez sympathizes with her parents, whose happiness is constrained by the oppressive strictures of colonialism; by the Catholic Church’s prohibition of artificial birth control which her mother obeys, terrified by the threat of eternal damnation (her mother gets pregnant fourteen times: nine live births and five miscarriages which almost kill her); and by the complexities of skin color in Caribbean society. Through it all, a fierce love holds this family together, and helps carry Nunez through her grief, in this “intriguing [and] courageous memoir” (Kirkus Reviews). “Nunez ponders the cultural, racial, familial, social, and personal experiences that led to what she ultimately understands was a deeply loving union between her parents. A beautifully written exploration of the complexities of marriage and family life.” —Booklist
“A vibrantly told love story” with tragic roots in WWII Czechoslovakia (The Washington Post). An American-born son of Czech immigrants grows up in postwar New York, part of a boisterous community of the displaced where he learns fragments of European history, Czech fairy tales, and family secrets gleaned from overheard conversations. Central in his young imagination is the heroic account of the seven Czech parachutists who, in 1942, assassinated a high-ranking Nazi. Yet one essential story has always evaded him: his mother’s. He suspects she had a great wartime love, the loss of which bred a sadness that slowly engulfed her. As an adult, he travels to Prague, hoping to piece together her hidden past—leading to the compelling story at the heart of The Visible World—an “almost unbearably poignant work . . . a penetrating, beautifully composed novel from a writer with a tangible sense of place and period,” the acclaimed author of Brewster and God’s Fool, named a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle (Booklist). “The sheer beauty of Mark Slouka’s prose will draw comparisons to The English Patient.” —Gary Shteyngart, New York Times–bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story “A book that will last.” —Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author of Let the Great World Spin
Georgia Bottoms is known in her small community of Six Points, Alabama, as a beautiful, well-to-do, and devoutly Baptist Southern belle. Nobody realizes that the family fortune has long since disappeared, and a determinedly single woman like Georgia needs an alternative, and discreet, means of income. In Georgia's case it is six well-heeled lovers-one for each day of the week, with Mondays off-none of whom knows about the others. But when the married preacher who has been coming to call (Saturdays) decides to confess their affair in front of the whole congregation, Georgia must take drastic measures to stop him. In GEORGIA BOTTOMS, Mark Childress proves once again his unmistakable skill for combining the hilarious and the absurd to reveal the inner workings of the rebellious human heart.