Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin

Lara Liveman Character Analysis

A painter from a wealthy family who until recently enjoyed moderate success in New York’s art scene. After several years of partying and experiencing the free love movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, she and her husband, Blaine, decide that their drug habits are destroying them, so they move outside the city to a small cabin. In isolation they work studiously on painting in the style of the 1920s, harkening back to the era and living their lives accordingly. Lara is one of the passengers of the car that hits Corrigan’s van on the FDR Parkway. In a moment of panic, she tells Blaine to drive away from the scene of the accident despite her own misgivings. Afterward, she has an overwhelmingly guilty conscience and is left feeling that she must atone for her wrongs. She eventually ends up leaving Blaine for Ciaran, who she later marries and moves to Dublin with.

Lara Liveman Quotes in Let the Great World Spin

The Let the Great World Spin quotes below are all either spoken by Lara Liveman or refer to Lara Liveman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Political Unrest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Let the Great World Spin published in 2009.
Book One, Chapter 3: A Fear of Love Quotes

The moment he turned to check the front of the car I recall thinking that we’d never survive it, not so much the crash, or even the death of the young girl—she was so obviously dead, in a bloodied heap on the road—or the man who was slapped against the steering wheel, almost certainly ruined, his chest jammed up against the dashboard, but the fact that Blaine went around to check on the damage that was done to our car, the smashed headlight, the crumpled fender, like our years together, something broken, while behind us we could hear the sirens already on their way, and he let out a little groan of despair, and I knew it was for the car, and our unsold canvases, and what would happen to us shortly, and I said to him: Come on, let’s go, quick, get in, Blaine, quick, get a move on.

Related Characters: Lara Liveman (speaker), John Andrew Corrigan (“Corrigan”), Jazzlyn Henderson, Blaine
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

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A few people were gathered outside the doorway, black women, mostly, in dark mourning clothes that looked as if they didn’t belong to them, as if they’d hired the clothes for the day. Their makeup was the thing that betrayed them, loud and gaudy and one with silver sparkles around her eyes, which looked so tired and worn-down. The cops had said something about hookers: it struck me that maybe the young girl had just been a prostitute. I felt a momentary sigh of gratitude, and then the awareness stopped me cold, the walls pulsed in on me. How cheap was I?

Related Characters: Lara Liveman (speaker), Jazzlyn Henderson
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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He let the pieces of the napkin flutter to the floor and said something strange about words being good for saying what things are, but sometimes they don’t function for what things aren’t. He looked away. The neon in the window brightened as the light went down outside.

His hand brushed against mine. That old human flaw of desire.

Related Characters: Lara Liveman (speaker), Ciaran Corrigan
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lara Liveman Character Timeline in Let the Great World Spin

The timeline below shows where the character Lara Liveman appears in Let the Great World Spin. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, Chapter 3: A Fear of Love
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Lara Liveman and her husband Blaine are driving out of New York City on the FDR... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
As cocaine still moves through her bloodstream from the night before, Lara watches the van spin out of control, noting the driver’s bewildered face as the steering... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
The van spins out and hits a newspaper truck, but Lara and Blaine’s car moves steadily forward without harm. Looking over his shoulder for an instant,... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
Lara has the clear thought that this crash will destroy her relationship with Blaine, perhaps most... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
At this point we learn that Lara and Blaine have for the past year been living outside the city in a small... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
...car in a shed and sweeps the tracks out of the dirt. Then he and Lara sit on the dock and snort the dwindling amount of cocaine left over from their... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
Lara awakes early the next day and steps outside without waking Blaine. She sees that they... (full context)
Political Unrest Theme Icon
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
The following morning, Lara walks into town and enters a diner. She feels out of place and senses an... (full context)
Political Unrest Theme Icon
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
The thought of Nixon brings something else to Lara’s mind: she remembers a boy she’d been in love with before Blaine. He went to... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Lara finds a newspaper on the floor. It is open to an article about the tightrope... (full context)
Political Unrest Theme Icon
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
Outside the diner, Blaine pulls up in the car. He joins Lara at her table and tells her that he found the paintings. He’s excited and full... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
Later—perhaps the next day—Lara drives alone back to the city. She goes to a hospital and asks if there... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Lara learns that the girl she’d seen in the passenger’s seat died before reaching the hospital... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Lara lies and says that she works for the hospital and that she is returning Corrigan’s... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
When she arrives at the cemetery, Lara parks the car out of sight. At the ceremony she stands next to Ciaran while... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
...to Tillie and she studies it for a moment before slapping Ciaran across the face. Lara notes that it seems as if he is grateful for this slap. She wonders what... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
When the funeral ends, Lara offers Ciaran a ride home. He accepts, and when he sees the car’s smashed frontend,... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Finally answering Ciaran’s question, Lara says she doesn’t know why she didn’t stop after hitting Corrigan’s van. She tells him... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
When Lara arrives home later that night, she goes swimming in the lake while Blaine waits for... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
Lara narrates in greater detail the specifics of her time with Ciaran. They drove to a... (full context)
Book Two, Chapter 7: This is the House That Horse Built
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
...the stairs to the visiting room. There, waiting for her behind the separation glass, is Lara. Tillie doesn’t understand—she feels like she might recognize Lara, but doesn’t know why. She asks... (full context)
Book Four, Chapter 12: Roaring Seaward, and I Go
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Jaslyn, Ciaran, and Ciaran’s wife, Lara, spent a slow evening in the garden behind Ciaran and Lara’s house, which had walls... (full context)