I must have read the book jacket hurriedly. I saw the National Book Award insignia on the cover and "check," off I went ... or something ... because I missed the book's major themes until I was deep into the story.
Let the Great World Spin is fictional, but it's based on a tightrope walker who teetered over Manhattan in 1974, crossing from one World Trade Center tower to the other. It's about the human desire for hope and recovery, about many characters' unique experience of a certain moment. And in the end, it's obvious that we're all balancing some kind of highwire. It's a human condition to do so.
Maybe a little heavier than I normally go for a beach read? Um, yep. Worth the surprise? Uh huh.
I'm a word junkie, but I won't bore you with cool phrases I circled in its pages (e.g. "Revolving doors pushed quarters of conversation out onto the street." Sigh. Yes, nerdy). But I will share this excerpt from the author's afterword. I'll share it because I think it's beautiful and true and because it makes me want to read another book, tell another story:
"A book is completed only when it is finished by a reader. This is the intimate privilege of art. In fact, it's the intimate privilege of being alive."