Colum McCann Wins the NBA for "Let the Great World Spin"
Cheers to Colum McCann for winning the National Book Award last night for his novel "Let the Great World Spin!"

The book is about when Philip Petit stretched a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers and then danced across it in 1974. It's about the lives of New Yorkers at the time and how they intersected -- their relations to each other along social and class divides.

Petit's journey between the towers was called "the artistic crime of the century" by Time Magazine: a crime so artistic that even mere books about it are winning the big prizes.

"Now I worry about Colum McCann," said Frank McCourt about this book before he died. "What is he going to do after this blockbuster groundbreaking symphony of a novel? No novelist writing of New York has climbed higher, dived deeper."


From Wikipedia, about Philip Petit:

"Petit was first inspired to attempt what he called his "coup" on the Twin Towers while he sat in his dentist's office in Paris in 1968. In a magazine, he came upon an article about the as-yet-unconstructed buildings, along with an illustration of the model. He became obsessed with the towers, collecting articles on them whenever possible."

"Petit was warned by his friend on the South Tower that a police helicopter would come to pick him off the wire unless he got off. Rain had begun to fall, and Petit decided he had taken enough risks, so he decided to give himself up to the police waiting for him on the South Tower. He was arrested once he stepped off the wire. Provoked by his taunting behaviour while on the wire, police handcuffed him behind his back and roughly pushed him down a flight of stairs. This he later described as the most dangerous part of the stunt."

"His audacious high wire performance made headlines around the world. When asked why he did the stunt, Petit would say "When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk."

Here's McCann in some bar, talking about lit (keep watching until you can separate his voice from the crowd for a fun object lesson about being a writer):

Go buy his book, if you have money and like to read. He'd read YOUR book. If it was good.

Posted by miracle on Thu, 19 Nov 2009 19:26:38 -0500 -- permanent link

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