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New York, New York, United States
"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let the Great World Spin

Column McCann is master evoker of the human spirit. I don't really think he's a storyteller, he's more of an analyst of emotion, and boy, does he do it well. In 1974, Phillipe Petit constructs a high wire strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center, and in the early morning hours, he proceeds to walk, dance and even lie down upon it. When questioned why, he said "when I see oranges, I want to juggle them. When I see towers, I want to walk between them." This event becomes the core center of the novel, as different characters, seemingly unconnected, live out their lives while this extraordinary event occurs.

As McCann points out: New York isn't a city that wallows in the past. We don't build many monuments or cherish history the way older European cities do. What we revel in are flash-in-the-pan theatricals. Wild and effusive displays that compel people to marvel and think, "only in New York." To me, this is the most apt description of New York City that I've ever come across. Each of the characters, in their varied struggles, are trying to make more sense of their existences, but really, it's simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, balancing on the ever-tricky high wire of life.

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