Ireland, 1971. John Egan is a misfit, 'a twelve year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant who insists on the ridiculous truth'. With an obsession for the Guinness Book of Records and faith in his ability to detect when adults are lying, John remains hopeful despite the unfortunate cards life deals him. During one year in John's life, from his voice breaking, through the breaking-up of his home life, to the near collapse of his sanity, we witness the gradual unsticking of John's mind, and the trouble that creates for him and his family.
Winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for 2011. Shortlisted for both the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2010 and for the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards Book of the Decade.
New York, August 1974. A man is walking the sky. The city stands still in awe. Between the newly built Twin Towers the man is striding, twirling and showboating his way through the air. One hundred and ten stories below him, the lives of eight strangers spin towards each other. Corrigan, a radical, passionate Irish monk working in the Bronx with a clutch of prostitutes; Claire, a delicate Upper East Side housewife reeling from the death of her son in Vietnam; her husband Solomon, a cynical judge turning over petty criminals in a downtown court; Lara, a young artist struggling with a spiralling drug addiction and a doomed marriage; Fernando, a thirteen-year-old photographer chasing underground graffiti; Gloria, solid and proud despite decades of hardship; Tillie, a courageous hooker who used to dream of a better life; and Jazzlyn, her beautiful, reckless daughter raised on promises that reach beyond the high rises of New York.
Set against a time of sweeping political and social change, from the backlash to the Vietnam War and the lingering sceptre of the oil crisis to the beginnings of the Internet - a time that hauntingly mirrors the present time - these disparate lives will collide in the shadow of one reckless and beautiful act, and be transformed for ever.
Weaving together themes of love, loss, belonging, duty and human striving, Let the Great World Spin celebrates the effervescent spirit of an age and the small beauties of everyday life. At once intimate and magnificent, elegant and astonishing, it is a lyrical masterpiece from a storyteller who continues to use the wide world as his canvas.