In his New York Times book review of Let The Great World Spin (2009) by Colum McCann, Jonathan Mahler called it “one of the most electric, profound novels I have read in years.” I certainly thought so. I loved it—and will get a copy for my library. (I mostly read books from the public library, but then buy them if they are worthy.)
Although not completely located there, this is a New York City novel. This is also a book mostly about the ‘70s. One gets a clear picture of Park Avenue living, Bronx slums, the life of hookers, and clubbing at the hot places of that era. As backdrop, McCann uses Philippe Petit’s amazing high wire walk between the World Trade Center towers on August 7, 1974, which affects the characters, but it isn’t the story.
“Nine days before TED2008, filmmaker David Hoffman lost almost everything he owned in a fire that destroyed his home, office and 30 years of passionate collecting. He looks back at a life that’s been wiped clean in an instant — and looks forward.”
Examples of my understanding of the definition of an elevator speech:
You’re a bright young businesswoman with credentials waiting for an elevator on the first floor and you’re on your way to the eleventh floor for an important meeting at a high class firm. The door opens, and as you step in, Warren Buffett appears behind you, enters the elevator, and pushes the button for the tenth floor. You’re the only two people in the elevator. He notices you and not only asks you what you do for a living but is interested in your career goals. The elevator starts to move. What you say is your elevator speech–and you’ve got a very short time to impress him.
Or…you’re an unpublished novelist and a similar situation occurs but this time it’s your favorite writer, one that you know has influence and helps new writers get in the door with major publishers. You introduce yourself and tell him you’ve written your first novel. He is gracious and then says, “What’s it about?” You’ve got maybe thirty seconds to knock his socks off.