Quotes from Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann ·  351 pages

Rating: (82.2K votes)


“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Some people think love is the end of the road, and if you're lucky enough to find it, you stay there. Other people say it just becomes a cliff you drive off, but most people who've been around awhile know it's just a thing that changes day by day, and depending on how much you fight for it, you get it, or you hold on to it, or you lose it, but sometimes it's never even there in the first place.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“The thing about love is that we come alive in bodies not our own.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“There's a part of me that thinks perhaps we go on existing in a place even after we've left it.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Literature can remind us that not all life is already written down: there are still so many stories to be told.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“People are good or half good or a quarter good, and it changes all the time- but even on the best day nobody's perfect.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Yet she likes complications. She wishes she could turn and say: I like people who unbalance me.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Good days, they come around the oddest corners.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“The simple things come back to us. They rest for a moment by our ribcages then suddenly reach in and twist our hearts a notch backward.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“I gave them all the truth and none of the honesty.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“She was tired of everyone wanting to go to heaven, nobody wanting to die. The only thing worth grieving over, she said, was that sometimes there was more beauty in this life than the world could bear.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“He might have been naive, but he didn't care; he said he's rather die with his heart on his sleeve than end up another cynic.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“There are rocks deep enough in this earth that no matter what the rupture, they will never see the surface.

There is, I think, a fear of love.

There is a fear of love.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“The repeated lies become history, but they don't necessarily become the truth.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“She's always thought that one of the beauties of New York is that you can be from anywhere and within moments of landing its yours.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“I guess this is what marriage is, or was, or could be. You drop the mask. You allow the fatigue in. You lean across and kiss the years because they're the things that matter.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Everything was fabulous, even our breakdowns.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“People think they know the mystery of living in your skin. They don't. There's no one who knows except the person who carts it around her own self.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“There are moments we return to, now and always. Family is like water - it has a memory of what it once filled, always trying to get back to the original stream.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“...it was necessary to love silence, but before you could love silence you had to have noise.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Corrigan told me once that Christ was quite easy to understand. He
went where He was supposed to go. He stayed where He was needed. He
took little or nothing along, a pair of sandals, a bit of a shirt, a few odds and ends to stave off the loneliness. He never rejected the world. If He had rejected it, He would have been rejecting mystery. And if He rejected mystery, He would have been rejecting faith.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“With all respects to heaven, I like it here.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“I sit there thinking about how much courage it takes to live an ordinary life.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“What Corrigan wanted was a fully believable God, one you could find
in the grime of the everyday...he consoled himself with the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same. He wanted, quite simply, for the world to be a better place, and he was in the habit of hoping for it.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“No shame in saying that I felt a loneliness drifting through me. Funny how it was, everyone perched in their own little world with the deep need to talk, each person with their own tale, beginning in some strange middle point, then trying so hard to tell it all, to have it all make sense, logical and final.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“One of those out-of-the-ordinary days that made sense of the slew of ordinary days. New York had a way of doing that. Every now and then the city shook its soul out. It assailed you with an image, or a day, or a crime, or a terror, or a beauty so difficult to wrap your mind around that you had to shake your head in disbelief.

He had a theory about it. It happened, and re-happened, because it was a city uninterested in history. Strange things occurred precisely because there was no necessary regard for the past. The city lived in a sort of everyday present. It had no need to believe in itself as a London, or an Athens, or even a signifier of the New World, like a Sydney, or a Los Angeles. No, the city couldn’t care less about where it stood. He had seen a T-shirt once that said: NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY. As if it were the only place that ever existed and the only one that ever would.

New York kept going forward precisely because it didn’t give a good goddamn about what it had left behind. It was like the city that Lot left, and it would dissolve if it ever began looking backward over its own shoulder. Two pillars of salt. Long Island and New Jersey.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Words are good for saying what things are, but sometimes they don't function for what things aren't.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“I know already that I will return to this day whenever I want to. I can bid it alive. Preserve it. There is a still point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. The river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. You can close your eyes and there will be a light snow falling in New York, and seconds later you are sunning upon a rock in Zacapa, and seconds later still you are surfing through the Bronx on the strength of your own desire. There is no way to find a word to fit around this feeling. Words resist it. Words give it a pattern it does not own. Words put it in time. They freeze what cannot be stopped. Try to describe the taste of a peach. Try to describe it. Feel the rush of sweetness: we make love.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


“Rather he consoled himself with the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same.”
― Colum McCann, quote from Let the Great World Spin


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About the author

Colum McCann
Born place: in Ireland
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