May 24, 2012
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Although Colum McCann’s latest novel, Let the Great World Spin, incorporates the story of a tightrope walker bridging the gap between Manhattan’s Twin Towers, it is not a reworking of the 2008 documentary Man on Wire. Yes, the novel features an unnamed acrobat similar to Philip Petit; and yes, he skylarks and stuns an entire city, but what began as a story about Petit quickly grew into something more in the mind of McCann, something grander in scale: “Originally I was only going to write a novel about the tightrope walker,” says the author.
” “And then I also wanted to write about an Irish monk who has this sort of crisis of faith. He was the one who started introducing me to all these other characters.” Using the monk Corrigan in addition to Petit’s famous 1974 stunt as “ways in” to the story proved useful for McCann, who, upon the book’s release, astounded critics with his ability to occupy and sustain such an array of characters.