I have no idea why I resisted the book that my Mom recommended to me for about 6 months. It won't happen again. (btw, if you EVER need a good book recommendation, my Mom is the BOMB!!)
This book by Colum McCann essentially tells the stories of a number of people who are all linked (sometimes they realize it, sometimes they don't). It's all in the context of the time that Philippe Petit walked on a tightrope between the World Trade Centers in 1974. Yes, I understand that doesn't give you a lot to go on or even really make sense, but the messages and the stories are wonderfully compelling.
He has a way of creating dozens of characters that I'm either immediately attracted or repelled by. He took me into worlds that I'm only marginally familiar with. And, while tragic, the worlds were filled with wonder that continued to be sparked by the many stories in the book.
Some of the better quotes from the book:
- On fear: "What I mean is, we're afraid. Just stand still for an instand and there it is, this fear covering our faces and tongues. If we stopped to take account of it, we'd just fall into despair. But we can't stop. We've got to keep going." Indeed!
- On evil: "Evil was for those who could never reach the truth. It was a mask for stupidity and lack of love."
At the end of the book, there's an interview that Mr. McCallum did about the book. In it, he talked about how he felt about one of the characters that dies. (I won't tell you who, don't want to spoil it) He referred to how blue he felt about the character's death. He wanted to roll back the rock and apologize.
But what struck me most was his statement about what characters in a novel mean to him: "Isn't it strange, that we can create characters from dust and then they become more real than the person we met at the party last night?"
I've never seen it so beautifully summarized by an author. Then again, that same author's tale was nothing short of magnificent. And the world keeps spining....