While still writing my book journal entry about Colum McCann's 2009 novel "Let the Great World Spin", I put his latest ("Transatlantic" - 2013), in my mental queue. No need to add the second book to any list. "Let the Great World Spin" is so exceptional there is zero doubt I'll be returning to this gifted author.
When you read a novel describing actual events from your lifetime, what effect does it have on you? McCann uses Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers to frame about a dozen stories, each in a unique voice. Those stories expertly depict the madcap diversity of NYC with wealth & despair alongside grit & influence while faith & grief & wonder hover nearby. Penthouse on Park Avenue, phone booth on Wall Street (remember - it's 1974), projects in the South Bronx. There are judges, hookers, support groups, priests, hackers, Irish & French & Guatemalan immigrants. And, in the short passages featuring Petit opening the first three sections, I found myself wandering around my young adult years, trying to recall how his feat of daring registered with me at the time.
My journey to the past was brief; I was too involved with the book. This is a perfect storm of a novel - immediately and thoroughly engaging, unquestionably literary, over too fast. If one of my book clubs does not select it soon, it's time to start my own group. Come to think of it, if you've read McCann's masterpiece, let's get started right now. Which of the voices in this book spoke loudest to you?