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LARB Radio Hour

The Los Angeles Review of Books Radio Hour is a weekly show featuring interviews, readings and discussions about all things literary. Hosted by LARB Editors-at-Large Kate Wolf, Medaya Ocher, and Eric Newman.
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Now displaying: August, 2022
Aug 26, 2022

An encore presentation from early 2021 that speaks to our current summer of floods, droughts, blazing temperatures and extreme weather across the northern hemisphere:
Hosts Kate and Medaya are joined by New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert, whose new book is called Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, in which Kolbert explores the many ways humans intervene in nature. Kolbert discusses invasive species, the sinking of New Orleans, the triage plan for climate change and how solar geoengineering might bleach our skies.
Also, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, author of The Undocumented Americans, returns to recommend Children of the Land by Marcello Hernandez Castillo.

Aug 19, 2022

On this special LARB Book Club episode of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Lindsay Wright are joined by K-Ming Chang to discuss her collection of stories, Gods of Want. Chang made her debut with the 2018 poetry chapbook Past Lives, Future Bodies, which she followed up in 2020 with the novel Bestiary. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Bestiary is a strikingly imaginative, fable-like tale of three generations of women who immigrate to the United States from Taiwan. Some of Bestiary’s motifs — hauntings, queer desire, violence, and unexpected transformations — recur in Chang’s 2021 chapbook Bone House, a phantasmagoric spin on Wuthering Heights, and also in Gods of Want. Shifting between genres, modes, and degrees of gravity, the collection displays the young Taiwanese American author’s striking inventiveness, both at the level of imagery and of language, as well as her cutting humor.

Aug 12, 2022

Architectural critic Alexandra Lange joins Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to discuss her latest book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall. As its title suggests, the study explores the beginnings and development of the American shopping mall, rewarding our nostalgic gaze with a fascinating look at the mall as architectural challenge and sociological phenomenon. As a response to the changing relationships to consumerism and urban space in the United States in the post-World War II period, the shopping mall soared in popularity in large part because it offered at once a space for consumerist escape and nearly complete environmental and social control. It shaped its own social culture, shot through with all of the prejudices of the world outside but with the promise of experiential transformation. In Meet Me by the Fountain, the shopping mall emerges as a uniquely postmodern public space grounded in the perennial human longing for social connection, and the nostalgia we feel for that space in the present demonstrates its ongoing appeal, even in the present, when it is considered to be, if not dead, all but certainly dying.

Also, Elvia Wilk, author of the essay collection Death by Landscape, returns to recommend both Austrian author Marlen Haushofer’s 1963 novel The Wall, available in Shaun Whiteside’s English translation, and Ned Beauman’s new novel Venomous Lumpsucker.

Aug 5, 2022

Elvia Wilk joins Kate Wolf to discuss her latest book, Death by Landscape, a collection of essays, including one originally published by the Los Angeles Review of Books. The pieces in Death by Landscape invite us to look closer at the narratives that persist in this time of environmental collapse and cataclysm. Reading a range of fiction and theory — including the work of writers such as Mark Fisher, Margaret Atwood, Amitav Ghosh, Jeff VanderMeer, Octavia Butler, and Karen Russell — Wilk explores the stories and genres that might allow us to decenter our human perspective of Earth and reimagine old divisions, such as those between people and plants, dystopia and utopia, role play and reality, and existence before and after apocalypse.

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