At first glance, it might seem to have little to do with contemplativeness either. Sirens are mentioned often. On one hand it is a simple narrative of lives entwined in the early 1970’s. Most of it takes place on one day in New York in August 1974 when Phillipe Petit (unnamed in the book) makes his tightrope walk across the World Trade Center towers, a walk that was called “the artistic crime of the 20th century.”
Here is a description from Random House:
In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.
... a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.
... A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.
I don't want to say too much and spoil the discovery. I feel more in love and more alive for having read this book.