NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
I just completely panned The Lacuna for being too much a Witness to History book, and I teetered for a moment towards feeling the same about this one, but in the end came out on the other side. The difference: in this book everyone is important because they are connected; in The Lacuna everything was connected because it was an important historical event. This is a fine difference that I am not sure I am articulating at all, but reading McCann left me with a sense of devastated joy at the interconnectivity of the world, how everything from daily small actions to the pageantry of a historical event impacts us and ties us together. Whereas in a book like The Lacuna the author was maybe trying to do the same but was so heavyhanded and onerous about it that the reading was painful.* This book was multiperspective done exactly right: there were only a few chapters--well, just the phone hackers really--that I could have done without; everything (& everyone) else both lived convincingly in their own right and came together movingly at the end. A lovely, if brutal, read.*Apologies for all the comparison; I read them nearly back to back.