“A decade after the bombing of Ya-el —” Colum McCann catches his elision just as his producer picks up a microphone to connect to the booth where the author of Let the Great World Spin is recording his latest novel Apeirogon.

“It’s usually pronounced ‘Yale’,” John McElroy informs him from the neighbouring studio, where he is following the script on an oversized iPad. The Irish-accented author resumes his intense narration: “A decade after the bombing, the family of Yael Botwin —”

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