My book club met last night to discuss The Elegance of the Hedgehog and we were down at least one member -- as Jennifer Hersey, who edited Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, was in the city at the National Book Awards where McCann's book won the award for the best book of fiction! We are all feeling very proud of Jennifer today and can't wait to read the book in our group! Here's the description of the book from the Random House website:
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.
The other winners for the night were T.J. Stiles for The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (nonfiction); Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Triology (poetry) and Phillip Hoose for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, (young adult) the biography of Claudette Colvin, who, as a young girl in the segregated south, refused to give up her seat to a white woman. Colvin joined Hoose on stage when he accepted the award. Awards were also presented to Gore Vidal for Distinguished Contribution to American Literature and to Dave Eggers, the Literarian Award.