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2018-2019 - Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin book cover

About the Book

A dazzling and hauntingly rich vision of the loveliness, pain, and mystery of New York City in the 1970s In the dawning light of the late summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers…

It is August, 1974, and a tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile in the sky. In the streets below, ordinary lives become extraordinary as award-winning novelist Colum McCann crafts this stunningly realized portrait of a city and its people.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among prostitutes in the Bronx. A group of mothers, gathered in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn the sons who died in Vietnam, discovers how much divides them even in their grief.

Further uptown, Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenaged daughter, determined not only to take care of her “babies” but to prove her own worth.

Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful novel comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the tightrope walker’s “artistic crime of the century.”

Let the Great World Spin is an unmistakable and triumphantly American masterpiece.

Colum McCann

About the Author

Colum McCann is the award-winning author of six novels and three collections of short stories. His most recent collection, Thirteen Ways of Looking, has received rave international reviews, including a Pushcart Prize and selection in the Best American Short Stories of 2015.

Let the Great World Spin was published in 2009 and won worldwide acclaim, including The 2009 National Book Award in the U.S, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, the International Impac Award 2011, a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and several other major international literary prizes. Let the Great World Spin became a best-seller on four continents.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Colum McCann was elected to the American Academy of Arts in 2017.  His work has been published in over 40 languages.  He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.  He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their three children.

For more information on Colum McCann, please visit