My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As an Australian visiting New York for the first time, I wanted to purchase a book about NYC from the Barnes and Noble bookstore at Union Square. So why choose this one? I overheard two American uni students discussing it; one on them said it was great. What better recommendation?
The novel is a tribute to the terrorist strike on the Twin Towers in 2001, but not in the way you’d expect. It is low-key and personal, a collection of stories about interesting characters that are loosely linked. There’s a priest, some hookers, an artist, a judge, his wife who befriends the descendent of a Missouri slave, and on they go. The thread that links them is a cable stretched between the Twin Towers by a dare-devil tight-rope walker.
It is the quality of the writing that is the highlight of this book. Having been there, I can hear, see, smell, and taste NYC in all its amazing diversity, through Colum McCann’s beautiful choice of words. This is modern literature at its best. Not an easy read, but one whose import will linger after you’ve closed the back cover.