The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

A Mystery That Explores 'The Rage' Of New Ireland

Feb 6, 2013
Originally published on February 6, 2013 2:40 pm

The Irish novelist John McGahern once remarked that his country stayed a 19th-century society for so long that it nearly missed the 20th century. But in the mid-1990s, Ireland's economy took off, turning the country from a poor backwater into a so-called Celtic Tiger with fancy restaurants, chrome-clad shops and soaring real estate values. The country was transformed — until things came tumbling down during the 2008 financial crisis.

This rapid rise and even rapider fall may have taken its toll on ordinary people, but it was a godsend for a mystery writer. There's nothing like upheaval to make a society interesting. Just ask Gene Kerrigan, a longtime Dublin reporter who — since his fiction debut, Little Criminals, in 2005 — has been writing crime novels remarkable for their verve, moral trickiness and nifty plotting. All these gifts are on display in his new novel, The Rage, a boundlessly readable portrait of an Ireland in which all the old certainties have vanished.

Its hero, Bob Tidey, is a detective sergeant in the Irish police, or Gardai, who's investigating the murder of a dodgy Dublin banker. As Tidey searches for clues, a volatile thug named Vincent Naylor is out on the streets preparing a really big score. Eventually, both the cop and the crook find their paths leading to a third party, Maura Coady, a retired nun who has secrets of her own. Trying to protect Maura from danger — while still obeying the law — Tidey finds himself caught in a situation where, as he puts it, there's no moral thing to do, yet something has to be done.

Now, it's a cliche about the Irish that they are colorful, and it must be said that The Rage brims with vividly drawn characters, from cynical high-class lawyers to feckless lowlifes. As the story bounces among them, I was reminded of novelists like Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford. It's not that Kerrigan writes like them exactly — he doesn't emulate Leonard's gold-plated dialogue — but his work has a similar verbal energy. It whooshes you along. His prose isn't flashy but it is acute, like his description of a male jewelry salesman whose dyed blond hair is "gelled into thorny shapes like something designed by an unemployable architect."

If Kerrigan has a target, it's not Dublin's little criminals — the louts, thieves and killers — who roam through its gentrified streets. He realizes that they are bad guys, but he also views them with bemused sympathy — they're not without their charm or common humanity. Vincent Naylor may beat up a stranger he meets at a store simply because the dude's been prissy with him, but rather than moralize about it, The Rage takes us inside the animal glee that makes Vincent tick. Everyone in Kerrigan's world has his or her reasons.

Of course, some of those reasons are bad ones. Kerrigan hones his own rage on the big criminals, whom Tidey calls "the smart fellas." These are the bankers, real estate moguls and enabling politicians who fueled the Irish boom, got theirs and left everyone else to pay the tab. This elite knocked apart the old Irish society and replaced it with something new and hollow, where terms like "entrepreneur" and "branding" became treated with reverential awe. Chasing money became a new liturgy in an era when the Roman Catholic church, long the country's bedrock, had its authority broken by endless abuse scandals.

Like all of Kerrigan's novels, The Rage tackles a large theme — what it means to be honest in a society that isn't, where morality has become a gray zone. Along the way, Tidey must decide whether to perjure himself to protect fellow policemen who beat up some young drunks at a bar. Now this might seem like a no-brainer — of course, he should tell the truth — but Tidey lies, and Kerrigan makes us understand why, in this particular case, a good cop convinces himself to do a bad thing.

But he also makes us understand that such casual immorality is not without its cost. Lying in bed one night, Tidey tells his wife, "I'm not who I set out to be — not any longer. And I don't know where it goes from here."

In The Rage, Gene Kerrigan suggests that the same sad thing could be said of Ireland itself.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Irish writer Gene Kerrigan has worked as a prize-winning journalist for over 30 years. Eight years ago he began writing crime novels about his home city of Dublin and they met with instant acclaim. Two of them, "Little Criminals," and "The Midnight Choir" have been published by Europa Editions, which is also releasing his new book "The Rage," winner of Britain's Gold Dagger as the best crime novel of 2012.

Our critic at large, John Powers, is a Kerrigan fan and says that "The Rage" is a rarity - a page turner about serious things.

JOHN POWERS, BYLINE: The Irish novelist John McGahern once remarked that his country stayed a 19th-century society for so long that it nearly missed the 20th century. But in the mid-1990s, Ireland's economy took off, turning the country from a poor backwater into a so-called Celtic Tiger with fancy restaurants, chrome-clad shops and soaring real estate values. The country was transformed - until things came tumbling down during the 2008 financial crisis.

This rapid rise and even rapider fall may have taken its toll on ordinary people, but it was a godsend for a mystery writer. There's nothing like upheaval to make a society interesting. Just ask Gene Kerrigan, a longtime Dublin reporter who - since his fiction debut, "Little Criminals," in 2005 - has been writing crime novels remarkable for their verve, moral trickiness and nifty plotting.

All these gifts are on display in his new novel, "The Rage," a boundlessly readable portrait of an Ireland in which all the old certainties have vanished. Its hero, Bob Tidey, is a detective sergeant in the Irish police, or Gardai, who's investigating the murder of a dodgy Dublin banker. As Tidey searches for clues, a volatile thug named Vincent Naylor is out on the streets preparing a really big score.

Eventually, both the cop and the crook find their paths leading to a third party, Maura Coady, a retired nun who has secrets of her own. Trying to protect Maura from danger - while still obeying the law - Tidey finds himself caught in a situation where, as he puts it, there's no moral thing to do, yet something has to be done.

Now, it's a cliché about the Irish that they are colorful, and it must be said that "The Rage" brims with vividly drawn characters, from cynical high-class lawyers to feckless lowlifes. As the story bounces among them, I was reminded of novelists like Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford.

It's not that Kerrigan writes like them exactly - he doesn't emulate Leonard's gold-plated dialogue - but his work has a similar verbal energy. It whooshes you along. His prose isn't flashy but it is acute, like his description of a male jewelry salesman whose dyed blond hair is, quote, "gelled into thorny shapes like something designed by an unemployable architect."

If Kerrigan has a target, it's not Dublin's little criminals - the louts, thieves and killers - who roam through its gentrified streets. He realizes that they are bad guys, but he also views them with bemused sympathy - they're not without their charm or common humanity.

Vincent Naylor may beat up a stranger he meets at a store simply because the dude's been prissy with him, but rather than moralize about it, "The Rage" takes us inside the animal glee that makes Vincent tick. Everyone in Kerrigan's world has his or her reasons. Of course, some of those reasons are bad ones. Kerrigan hones his own rage on the big criminals, who Bob Tidey calls the smart fellas.

These are the bankers, real estate moguls and enabling politicians who fueled the Irish boom, got theirs and left everyone else to pay the tab. This elite knocked apart the old Irish society and replaced it with something new and hollow, where terms like entrepreneur and branding became treated with reverential awe. Chasing money became a new liturgy in an era when the Roman Catholic Church, long the country's bedrock, had its authority broken by endless abuse scandals.

Like all of Kerrigan's novels, "The Rage" tackles a large theme - what it means to be honest in a society that isn't, where morality has become a gray zone. Along the way, Bob Tidey must decide whether to perjure himself to protect fellow policemen who beat up some young drunks at a bar.

Now, this might seem like a no-brainer - of course, he should tell the truth - but Tidey lies, and Kerrigan makes us understand why, in this particular case, a good cop convinces himself to do a bad thing. But he also makes us understand that such casual immorality is not without its cost. Lying in bed one night, Tidey tells his wife: I'm not who I set out to be - not any longer. And I don't know where it goes from here.

In "The Rage," Gene Kerrigan suggests that the same sad thing could be said of Ireland itself.

GROSS: John Powers writes about film and television for Vogue and Vogue.com. He reviewed "The Rage," by Gene Kerrigan. You can read an excerpt on our website freshair.npr.org, where you can also download podcasts of our show. And you can follow us on Twitter @nprfreshair and on Tumblr at nprfreshair.tumblr.com. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.