Archives for posts with tag: colum mccann

Ok, here I go. No big deal. However, I must confess, I’m a quitter. It’s true. I quit this book, Colum McCann’s This Side of Brightness:


There I said it.

My love for Colum McCann only goes so far. He pulled me in with a detailed depiction of life under New York, life digging the Brooklyn Tunnel. Sign me up for some historical trauma and beauty. Then he jumped back to the present (or perhaps the 80s) and I’m lost. Who are these people? Why should I care about them and how are they connected to the past? Sure these answers might have come if I’d stuck around a little longer but I just couldn’t do it.

Maybe it’s Colum’s fault and maybe I’m not making enough time in my life to read. For now I think I’ll just blame Colum. That’s easier.


Last weekend, I finally finished a book. And a damn beautiful one at that. After falling in love with Collum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin I knew I had to read more of his work.

Dancer follows Rudolf Nureyev from his childhood in an impoverished rural Russian village to his glitzy adult life on stages across the world. Each section is at once beautiful and heartbreaking. Rudolf charms everyone who passes through his life and we get to see the world from both his POV and that of his family, friends, teachers, and admirers.

My only hang up came with these constant POV shifts. The variety is nice, don’t get me wrong. A little of the female perspective. A little from the mother. A little from the gay admirer. A little from the child. Lovely. Yet many of the perspectives are in the first person. That glaring I pops out then pages and pages pass before a character claims the I. You’ll get used to it but prepare yourself for some unsettled reading time.

Back on the beautiful book train. I loved this book and the world McCann created.

Typically, I want a book to teach me how to read it. If it’s going to be jumpy, fine. If it’s going to be slow, fine. Let the Great World Spin will teach you how to read it but it’s not going to do it in the first fifty pages.

I went in knowing nothing more that it is set in New York in the 70s and I think that’s how you ought to go too. Go with it. Trust the book. Sink into the beauty. Turn the next page, you won’t regret it.

My only regret is that I won’t get to spend any more time in their rich, layered world.

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