Haute Book Review: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

One of my favorite hobbies is reading novels. While this isn’t the most original statement, many people don’t feel this way and would rather spend their time reading a magazine or Twitter. As far as book recommendations go, I am open to suggestions and take pleasure in reading what others have previously enjoyed. An old college professor once suggested that I read, Let the Great World Spin by Clum McCann, and described it in a way I’ll never forget. He said, “Reading this book was like hearing Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ for the very first time.” After considering this boldly stated metaphor, I knew I had to read it.

Even if you’re not a born-and-raised New Yorker, reading Let the Great World Spin will certainly make you feel like you are. McCann uses the Twin Towers as a focal point while he takes you on a New York City adventure, introducing characters from all walks of life.  It is the type of book where every detail is significant in order to keep track of the intertwining lifelines between each character, continually leaving you with jaw-dropping realizations. Taking place in the summer of 1974, all facets of New York City from the South Bronx projects to the prostitute-filled Major Deegan Expressway are showcased through divergent yet fitting literary beauty. I also found the nostalgia of the Twin Towers refreshing without the harsh realities of 9/11 coming into play.

Although I would have to suggest a Frank Sinatra song as the backdrop of this novel rather than Bruce Springsteen, it is definitely a one-of-a-kind read.  Let the Great World Spin captures the true essence of New York City while touching upon important cultural elements of the city’s past.

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