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Column McCann at Vassar November 4 

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"Those who saw him hushed. On Church Street. Liberty. Cortlandt. West Street. Fulton Vesey. It was a silence that heard itself, awful and beautiful." So begins Column McCann's National Book Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin. The man in question is Philippe Petit, the French highwire artist (and longtime Ulster County resident) who crossed a threshold of air 110 stories up and straight into mythology with his World Trade Center stunt in 1974. Let the Great World Spin follows the lives of a diverse set of New Yorkers on that day. In interviews, McCann has remarked on the metaphor of the tightrope of "ordinary" life: "There is still an invisible tightrope wire that we all walk, with equally high stakes, only it is hidden to most, and only one inch off the ground." On November 4 at 6pm, McCann will deliver the annual William Gifford lecture in Taylor Hall at Vassar College. (845) 437-5370; Vassar.edu

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  • The author of Let the Great World Spin delivers the William Gifford lecture at Vassar College.

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