Read, Write, Run, Roam

Let the Great World Spin… around New York and Belgrade

“It had never occurred to me before but everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself, each thing as strange as the last and connected.”

This book is a wonderfully written, twisted love letter to New York. It chronicles eleven people with wildly different backgrounds, each struggling to find their way in the city-and in life. I found myself skimming over some character chapters (the grieving mother, the photographer) but savoring others (brothers from Dublin, a prostitute working with her daughter).  The centerpiece of it all is Philippe Petit’s walk across the Twin Towers in 1974, though the acrobat’s name is never mentioned in the book.

I’m not going to bore you with my analysis, but I wanted to recommend the book and share the quote above.

I thought the quote was a great description of New York, but then I started thinking it applied to Belgrade as well. A walk in Belgrade is a walk through history. The city has Soviet, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and modern influences within a single square mile. It also has a misunderstood population, haves and have-nots, and a will to survive. The city has been in a state of renovation since its inception, and I’m not just talking about the buildings. Centuries of invasions, uprisings, changing politics, and destruction have required the city-and its people-to search for strength amidst adversity and stability throughout change.

I’d love to read the book about that.


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