National Book Award, Fiction, 2009
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2011
It is August, 1974, and a tightrope walker is suspended between the twin towers, watched by thousands in the streets below. Elegantly weaving together their seemingly disparate lives, McCann's powerful novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city's people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the tightrope walker's "artistic crime of the century." Featuring a stunning ensemble performance by the narrators.
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A GREAT PORTRAIT OF NYC IN 1970s
This a great book, the one you will always keep in book shelves forever! You will be profoundly moved, and when reaches the end you might want to read it again because it is such delight.
McCann, fictionalizes a real historical event—the famous tightrope-walking stunt of a French aerialist who precariously balances himself as he walks between the two Twin Towers—and uses that event as the narrative ground around which he creates a host of characters you will soon become attach to.
The tightrope event moves in and out of most the characters’ lives that have often no connection with the person performing the tightrope. But this event is the one which links most of the characters in the book.
The follows the lives of a group people before and after the Philippe Petit performed his spectacle on a tightrope between the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. Although, McCann does not feature Philippe Petit as the central characters, the lives of all of the main characters intertwine with his walking between the twin’s towers. The book looks at people from all walks of life in NYC in the 1970s--from Bronx hookers to a Park Avenue matron. As the lives of each of these people come together you wonder who will survive this vicious city, where people and souls seem to be eaten alive.
- David C. Ashkinazy