NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t


It’s been more than six years since Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, concluded his enormously popular 13-volume young adult series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now Handler has revived the Snicket narrator in his YA novel Who Could That Be at This Hour? The book is the first of a series — All the Wrong Questions — and a prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events. It tracks the young Snicket’s adventures during his apprenticeship at the V.F.D., a mysterious organization that readers familiar with the Snicket stories will recognize. While the Unfortunate Events books play with ideas about gothic literature, All the Wrong Questions explores detective-noir conventions. Handler tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that initially, he had concerns about writing in a noir style for younger readers, not least because of the central role of the genre’s femme fatale characters and their sexualized personas. But then he had an epiphany that freed him from this worry: In noir, he realized, the detective and the femme fatale are doing the exact same thing. MORE

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RELATED: In her new series for The New York Times called “The United States of Subsidies,” investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put. The states and localities want jobs and economic growth; the companies want free land, free buildings, property tax abatement, “anything you can think of that would be financially beneficial,” Story tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. The companies, she says, know they can get what they want, which is why they ask, and officials are so afraid to risk losing a current or prospective local employer that they readily comply. MORE