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The filmmaker, artist, author and general cultural icon John Waters visits the podcast this week to talk about his first novel, โ€œLiarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.โ€ The book features three generations of women in the Sprinkle family, and their very complicated (and antagonistic) relationships with one another. The first of them we meet is Marsha, an unrepentant thief and overall misanthrope; but Waters says he still wants us to root for her.

โ€œSheโ€™s so crazy and so terrible that you canโ€™t believe it at first,โ€ Waters says. โ€œAnd sheโ€™s quite serious about herself, as all fanatics are. No one in this book has much of a sense of humor about themselves, which, I think, can be played funny โ€” the same way that when I made a movie, the main thing I told every actor was: โ€˜Never wink at the audience. Say it like you believe every single word.โ€™โ€

John Waters, whose first novel is โ€œLiarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.โ€Credit…Greg Gorman

Also on this weekโ€™s episode, Elizabeth Harris discusses the winners of this yearโ€™s Pulitzer Prizes; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books theyโ€™ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.

Here are the books discussed by The Timesโ€™s critics this week:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Reviewโ€™s podcast in general. You can send them to

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