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Joyce Carol Oates' latest book opens in 1999 with a killing: A man who considers himself a soldier of Christ shoots a doctor who performs abortions. Over the next 700-plus pages, we see the consequences of that act ripple through the doctor's family and that of his killer.

The novel is called A Book of American Martyrs. Oates, who is outspoken about her liberal politics, spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro.


Interview Highlights

On telling parts of the story from the perspective of the killer, Luther

In Mexican lucha libre — professional wrestling known for its masked fighters and cartoonish style — the bad guys rule. They're known simply as rudos.

"Mexican lucha libre is for rudos. We welcome any rudo who wants to come in here and be badder than the others," says Marco Espinosa, a fan, from beneath his souvenir lucha libre mask.

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There are two things viewers should know right from the start about Legion, which premieres Wednesday night on FX. One is that it doesn't look, or feel, like a drama based on a comic book — it's more like a next-generation version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as filtered through H.P. Lovecraft or Edgar Allan Poe.

It was February 1824, and Charles Dickens was hungry. With his father, John Dickens, jailed in the Marshalsea Prison over a debt of 40 pounds, 12-year-old Charles begrudgingly quit school to work at Warren's Blacking Factory in London. His family, who was forced to move into the prison with their father, desperately needed the money; there were 10 starving mouths to feed.

Comedian and actor Irwin Corey, for whom the word "however" was the perfect opening line, has died at age 102. With an impish grin and wild hair, Corey was a nightclub and talk-show fixture who worked with stars from Jackie Gleason to Woody Allen. His admirers ranged from Damon Runyon to Lenny Bruce.

Culture Clash, Survival And Hope In 'Pachinko'

Feb 7, 2017

In fiction we seek a paradox, the familiar in the foreign, new realities that only this one particular author can give us. Pachinko, the sophomore novel by the gifted Korean-born Min Jin Lee, is the kind of book that can open your eyes and fill them with tears at the same time.

"I think you work harder if you're haunted by some small darkness," says John Darnielle. And if the work he's produced is any indication, Darnielle is one haunted man.

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