Mieko Kawakami, whose poignant and pointed debut novel Breasts and Eggs is this season’s LARB’s Book Club selection, joins Medaya Ocher and Boris Dralyuk to discuss her career as a musician, poet, blogger, and author, the challenges facing women around the world, the state of Japanese literature, and the wonders of translation.
Also, Eric Cervani, author of The Deviant's War: The Homosexual Vs. the United States of America, returns to recommend James Baldwin's classic Giovanni's Room.
This week, co-hosts Eric and Medaya talk to professor, writer, and revolutionary, Frank B. Wilderson III, whose latest book, Afropessimism, is a work of memoir and theory. Wilderson defines Afropessism, the ways it has been misrepresented and how it can shape our understanding of contemporary justice. Wilderson also recounts his childhood and how he became an Afropessimist.
Also, writer and translator Joyce Zonana returns to recommends Betty Smith's classic from the 1940s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
This week, Medaya speaks with acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda about his new film, The Truth (La Vérité), starring French film screen legends Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. Kore-eda discusses complicated family dynamics, the relationship between art and truth-telling and what brought him to France. In our second interview, Kate and Medaya are joined by scholar and translator Joyce Zonana, who discusses her translation of Henri Bosco’s 1946 novel Malicroix. This is the first time the French novel has been translated into English.
Author Eric Cervini Cervini explains Frank Kameny's legacy as a complex figure in the history of the LGBTQ struggle, as he discusses his new book The Deviant's War with Daya, Kate , and Eric. Kameny was a trailblazer for civil rights yet also a person deeply committed to an assimilationist vision of queer equality, one that often sidelined people of color as well as trans and gender-nonconforming members of the community. In the wake of Bostock vs. Clayton County, the landmark Supreme Court case that firmed up protections against employment discrimination for LGBTQ workers under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Cervini discusses how Kameny would have seen this moment in history and how his early work demonstrates at once the decades of struggle that have brought the freedoms of our moment as well as the road we still must travel.
Also, our own Eric Newman explains how he came to read Robert K Massie's magisterial biography of Catherine the Great; and why he'd recommend it to anyone.