New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Raymond Carver And His Editor Re-Imagined In 'Scissors'

Aug 21, 2013
Originally published on August 21, 2013 8:04 pm

The legendary minimalist short story writer Raymond Carver distilled the last decade of his life in his poem "Gravy." "Gravy, these past ten years," he writes. "Alive, sober, working, loving, and being loved by a good woman."

Carver was dying of cancer by the time he wrote the poem (he died in 1988 at age 50), but he didn't dwell on that. "I've had ten years longer than I or anyone expected," he writes. "Pure Gravy. And don't forget it." That poem is etched on his gravestone, a reminder of Carver's "second life," living productively with the poet Tess Gallagher, the chaos of drinking behind him.

In Scissors, Paris-born, Cambridge-educated writer Stephane Michaka re-imagines Carver's productive last decade, with flashbacks to some of his worst times with his first wife (called Marianne here). There are tender scenes with the poet he loves in the end — now renamed Joanne. But Michaka's focal point, the inspiration for his third novel, is Douglas (aka "Scissors"), the editor whose symbiotic relationship with Raymond builds to unbearable tension. It's based on Carver's notoriously fraught relationship with editor Gordon Lish, who was known as Captain Fiction for his literary influence on Carver and other writers, including Amy Hempel, Lily Tuck, Rick Bass and Barry Hannah.

Michaka invents four Carveresque stories, followed by Douglas' edited versions. These stories are carved up or pared down, depending on your perspective. (Lish deleted up to 70 percent of some stories.) Michaka also includes a fanciful addendum to the Carver narrative that shows whose side he's on.

This is not new ground. Carver originals with Lish edits indicated by strike-throughs have become a publishing meme. In 2007 The New Yorker published "Beginners," the first draft of the Lish-edited classic "What We Talk about When We Talk about Love," the title story in Carver's second collection. A restored version of that original manuscript of the short stories was included in Carver's Collected Stories, published by the Library of America in 2009.

But you needn't have read Raymond Carver's work, or know about the controversial Lish edits, to appreciate Michaka's empathetic exploration of an author's soul, his allegiance to his writing above all else, and the increasingly painful submission to his editor that eventually leads to a breaking point.

Raymond accepts Douglas' cuts at first because he needs the money, he wants to be published, and he's not exactly thinking clearly (he gets the galleys for his breakthrough collection, edited by Douglas, while in rehab). Marianne argues that the editor is ruining his work. Raymond becomes increasingly distressed. At one point, struggling with writer's block, Raymond agonizes about being "turned into a puppet. My editor's puppet. He speaks through me. He swallows my words and spits them out in another form." But would Raymond have become a ground-shifting author without Douglas' help? And what would Douglas have done without Raymond?

Like the best literary homages, Scissors evokes a craving for the original — and, in this case, further consideration of the aesthetic questions at the heart of Carver's published work.

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