Plastic bags caught on the gusts of summer wind epitomised the Bronx housing projects which were themselves victims of theft and wind. Tillie and Jazzlyn courageous and hopeful prostitutes dream of a better life; John Corrigan, the Irish monk, lived among the desperate residents of the Bronx housing projects, New York; effete Claire from the Upper East Side and Gloria from the Bronx grieving from the deaths of their collective sons in Vietnam; Judge Solomon Soderberg earns his promotion over petty crime and criminals in central New York; Lara desperate to escape drugs and a doomed marriage turns to Ciaran Corrigan; Fernando a photographer seeks by means of a superb New York graffiti shot; Gloria proud and generous despite a life of hardship makes a courageous decision.
Colum McCann imparts, in four books, the lives of very different people as they act and eventually react from the time of Phillip Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the uncompleted World Trade Centre towers 110 storeys above people’s heads through to the dawning of the internet age and Ciaran Corrigan’s bi-located internet company.
Lara imagined a single contrail in the sky, like a line of disappearing coke – time to move on. Judge Soderberg (pass me the tightrope walker and I’ll owe you one) fined Petit, the walker, and released him yet Tillie faced eight months and died in prison. Blaine and Lara clipped Corrigan’s car and both he and Jazzlyn died in the FDR highway crash as they drove back from the court. Lara and Blaine, high on drugs fled the scene. Lara later collected Corrigan’s clothes and returned them to Ciaran Corrigan, his brother. The attraction grew.
Compton, in California, hacked into the ARPANET to dial Sable Senatore in downtown New York for a description of Petit’s tightrope walk This walk linked all the protagonists in the story.
Claire Soderburg missed her son and was desperately lonely. She contacted a group of bereaved mothers including Gloria who lost three sons in Vietnam. There was no consolation. Claire wanted a firm friend in Gloria, she warmed to Claire. Gloria adopted Jaslyn and Janice the children of Jazzlyn when she saw the welfare officers take them to the car. This selfless act fulfilled the desires and hopes of their grandmother Tillie who died in prison.
Jaslyn turned out well she helped Hurricane Katrina victims recover their lives as an accountant. Fernando Yunque Marcano got his photograph of the 2001 plane crashing into the Twin Towers.
A compelling read with somewhat clipped sentences drawing the reader to delve in and follow the complex and convoluted life stories.