Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher speak with Sarah M Broom about her latest work The Yellow House; a moving and beautiful book rooted in one place, which combines memoir, archival history of her family, and a story of her growing up in New Orleans East. Sarah explains how the culture of this forgotten part of the city - isolated by the industrial canal, accessible only by the High Rise bridge - came alive in and around her family's home. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans East and destroyed The Yellow House; but through days of interviews and years of research Sarah conjures them back to life, reviving her large extended family, re-animating a lost world rife with character, tragedy, wisdom, and love.
Also, Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife and Inland, returns to recommend Salvatore Scibona's stunning second novel, The Volunteer.
Jenny Odell, author of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf to asses the state of the human soul in the age of social media reproduction. The verdict is clear: we need strategies of resistance. Constantly tracked and hunted by the digital panopticon, we have no time for reverie, reflection, letting go, or just being. We desperately need Nothing, which is everything. Jenny shares details of her own liberation.
Also, Susan Straight, author of In The Country of Women, returns to honor Toni Morrison by sharing how she has read her favorite book every single year since she was twelve, Morrison's luminous second novel, Sula.
What if that most celebrated of American genres, the Western, was stripped of its traditional tropes? Gone are the heroic lonesome gunslingers, the helpless women on the homesteads, the rampant outlaws, and cliched representations of inidigenous people. Is it possible that a such novel, rooted in greater historical accuracy, could prove equally (if not more) engaging? Tea Obreht's Inland accepts this challenge; and she joins co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman to explain how she came to tell the story of two women, 40 years apart, on the western frontier. There's heartbreak, bravery, ghosts and camels because, when it comes to the western, reality is stranger than mythology.
Also, writer and translator Magdalena Edwards, whose article for LARB "Benjamin Moser and the Smallest Woman in the World" became a viral sensation, returns to direct folks to an astonishing filmed interview of Clarice Lispector, the only one available online: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1zwGLBpULs
The redemptive power of oral history is at the heart of Susan Straight's new memoir, In The Country Of Women; and also in this installment of the LARB Radio Hour, the first in a special series featuring Los Angeles authors. As Susan relates the amazing stories of the women in her family from across many generations to host Kate Wolf, the spirit and character of these women is conjured back to life. Our troubled times are presaged in the tragedies and violence encountered by Susan's ancestors; but the promise, not yet extinguished, of this blood-stained land shines through from these women of the past to their sisters in the present.
Also, filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, whose latest film is American Factory, return to recommend four books: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson; and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
This episode of the LARB Radio Hour is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov. Any findings, opinions, or conclusions contained herein are not necessarily those of the California Arts Council.