Let The Great World Spin
By Colum McCann
This novel is a work of art & there is so much more greatness & sadness & humor & beauty & depth in it than I could ever hope to capture with a few excerpts. It's perfect as whole. I hope to reread it again someday.
"I told him that I loved him and that I'd always love him and I felt like a child who throws a centavo into a fountain and then she has to tell someone her most extraordinary wish even though she knows that the wish should be kept secret and that, in telling it, she is quite probably losing it. He replied that I was not to worry, that the penny could come out of the fountain again and again and again."
"I will always wonder what it was, what that moment of beauty was, when he whispered it to me, when we found him smashed up in the hospital, what it was he was saying when he whispered into the dark that he had seen something he could not forget, a jumble of words, a man, a building, I could not quite make it out. I can only hope that in the last minute he was at peace. It might have been an ordinary thought, or it might have been that he had made up his mind that he would leave the Order, and that nothing would stop him now, and he would come home to me, or maybe it was nothing at all, just a simple moment of beauty, a little thing hardly worth talking about, a random meeting, or a word he had with Jazzlyn or Tillie, a joke, or maybe he had decided that, yes, he could lose me now, that he could stay with his church and do his work, or maybe there was nothing on his mind at all, perhaps he was just happy, or in agony, and the morphine had scattered him--there are all these things and there are more--it is impossible to know. I hold in confusion the last moments of his language."
"In my worst moments I am convinced that he was rushing home to say good-bye, that he was driving too fast because he made up his mind, and it was finished, but in my best, my very best, he comes up on the doorstep, smiling, with his arms spread wide, in order to stay.
And so this is how I will leave him as much, and as often, as I can. It was--it is--a Thursday morning a week before the crash, and it fits in the space of every other morning I wake into. He sits between Eliana and Jacobo, on the couch, his arms spread wide, the buttons of his black shirt open, his gaze fixed forward. Nothing will ever really take him from the couch. It is just a simple brown thing, with mismatching cushions, and a hole in the armrest where it has been worn through, a few coins from his pocket fallen down into the gaps, and I will take it with me wherever I go, to Zacapa, or the nursing home, or any other place I happen to find."
"The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough."