From Swift to Orwell, political satire has played a major role in the history of European fiction. Much of it takes on an allegorical cast, but not all. The Fall of the Stone City, an incisive, biting work by Ismail Kadare — one of Europe's reigning fiction masters — refines our understanding of satire's nature. Kadare's instructive and delightful book takes us from the 1943 Nazi occupation of a provincial Albanian town, the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster, to the consolidation of communist rule there a decade later.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's still hard to believe that Japan and China could ever go to war over a few specks of land in the East China Sea, but here's a reminder of how easily war could come. Japan has disclosed that one of its navy ships was recently targeted by the radar off a Chinese navy ship. That form of radar is used for targeting weapons.
Investigators in Ireland have been pursuing an excruciating question: It is how women came to be stuck in a modern day workhouse. That's a kind of forced labor camp we associate with some earlier age, yet these Irish facilities persisted almost until the end of the 20th century.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports on what an investigative panel calls secrecy, silence and shame.