The plot of the book revolves around two central events. The first, laid out clearly in the book's opening pages, is the sensational real-life feat of the Twin Towers tightrope walk of Philippe Petit 110 stories up, performed in 1974. This lays the groundwork for the author's description of the human ability to find meaning, even in the greatest of tragedies, for which the Twin Towers serve as a metaphor.
The second central event, which is only revealed halfway through the book, is the fictional courtroom trial of a New York City prostitute. This serves as a sort of point of balance, bringing the book back down to its more earthly, and therefore more real basic story lines.