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Khrista Rypl

Author Gavin McCrea knew he didn’t want his first book to be a highly researched historical novel, but then he read about Lizzie Burns. “Mrs. Engels” is the debut novel McCrea never anticipated: a meditative imagining of Burns’ life in London with Friedrich Engels, the co-author of “The Communist Manifesto.” Engels’ philosophical partnership with Karl Marx is well-documented, but history leaves few clues about his relationship with Burns. All we really know is that Lizzie Burns became Engels’ lover after her sister Mary, Engels’ previous companion, died. That lack of historical detail left McCrea with plenty of room for artistic license.
John Seabrook, the author of a new book called “The Song Machine” explains how today’s pop songs are the result of an assembly-line method.