On the High Wire

Philippe Petit (Author) Paul Auster (Translator)
& 1 more


In this poetic handbook, written when he was just twenty-three, the world-famous high-wire artist Philippe Petit offers a window into the world of his craft. Petit masterfully explains how preparation and self-control contributed to such feats as walking between the towers of Notre Dame and the World Trade Center. Addressing such topics as the rigging of the wire, the walker's first steps, his salute and exercises, and the work of other renowned high-wire artists, Petit offers us a book about the ecstasy of conquering our fears and reaching for the stars.

Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
June 25, 2019
4.4 X 0.5 X 7.1 inches | 0.2 pounds
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About the Author

Philippe Petit (b. 1949) is a French high-wire artist whose celebrated walk between the Twin Towers was the subject of the Academy-Award winning film Man on Wire. He is also the author of Why Knot?, To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers, and Creativity: The Perfect Crime
Paul Auster is the bestselling author of 4 3 2 1, Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Auster has an enormous talent for creating worlds that are both fantastic and believable. . . . His novels are uniformly difficult to put down, a testament to his storytelling gifts.--Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle
A critically acclaimed novelist, essayist, and translator, Paul Auster lives in Brooklyn. He is the author of many novels, including 4321, The New York Trilogy, and City of Glass. New Directions publishes his Red Notebook as well as his translations of Stephane Mallarmé's A Tomb for Anatole and Philippe Petit's On the High Wire.


What sets Philippe in a class all his own is his restless quest to conquer the greatest physical heights, achieving a precise balance of chaos and creativity. He is an inspiration.--Mikhail Baryshnikov
Philippe Petit is an artist whose theater is the sky.--Robin Williams
This is a book of instructions to those who will dare one day the impossible. It shows the art to fill and illuminate the Void, a void between two towers, two edges of a ravine, or two planets, or the space between heart and mind. A wire connects what would have been separated in loneliness forever. I salute you, Philippe, the Fragile Man of the Wire, the Emperor of the air. Like Fitzcarraldo you are one of the ever so rare and wondrous men: a Conquistador of the Useless. I bow my head in reverence.--Werner Herzog
In the hand it feels like a guidebook and reads like a dream diary. The book is both of those things.