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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: March, 2023
Mar 31, 2023

Kate Wolf speaks with the writer and scholar McKenzie Wark about her latest book, Raving. Raving beckons readers onto the dance floors of underground parties in New York, combining Wark’s own vivid experience of these spaces with her theories of the rave itself. Wark considers the rave’s potential for a break in linear time, and its offering of a different mode of self-embodiment or self-abandon; its condition as a communion place for a variety of queer and trans bodies; its array of substances; and of course, its techno soundtrack. In the book’s six essays Wark moves seamlessly from autofiction to reportage to cultural critique, and invites the voices of other ravers along for the ride.
Also, Malcolm Harris, author of Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, returns once again to recommend Antony Loewenstein's The Palestine Laboratory.

Mar 24, 2023

Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with the renowned Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza about her first book written in English, Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice. The book begins with Rivera Garza's experience of searching for the police record of her sister Liliana’ murder, which took place in Mexico City in 1990 at the hands of an ex-boyfriend when Liliana was 20 years old. But the maze of bureaucracy and indifference she encounters leads her to another kind of record, that of Liliana’s own writing. A mischievous, funny, and exceedingly bright young woman, Lilliana wrote frequently in journals and letters, and through them, as well as through the recollections of her many friends, Rivera Garza reclaims her sister’s memory. A testament to familial love and the indelible nature of loss, the book also considers the epidemic of femicides in Mexico and the importance of the language and the activism that has emerged around such violence in the three decades since Liliana’s death.
Also, Malcolm Harris, author of Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, returns to recommend Ma Bo'le's Second Life by Xiao Hong.

Mar 17, 2023

Malcolm Harris joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World. A native of Northern California, Malcolm attended Palo Alto High School and that High School experience is a jumping off point of sorts — and a dark one — for the book that Malcolm joins us to discuss.

Malcolm's hefty tome, a history of California told through a Marxist lens, opens with a grim reflection on the spate of suicides that darkened his high school years. Teens who took their lives on the train tracks over which Leland Stanford built Palo Alto and much of the booming Western economy that has made the Bay Area and California in general such a dominant pole of global wealth, innovation, and the allure of good, easy living.

It's that darker side to this history that Malcolm brings into focus throughout PALO ALTO, a history of Silicon Valley that traces the region's celebrated ideologies, technologies, and policies to its roots in Anglo settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and the ravages of an extractive system that builds glittering new worlds and opportunities for a few, too often at the expense of everyone else up to and including the earth itself. Malcolm explores how the histories of big tech, the military industrial complex, and Stanford University converge in the story of Palo Alto, braided together in a way that at once builds the world we have today at the cost of a potentially better one.

Also, Emmanuel Iduma, author of I Am Still With You, returns to recommend three books: The Return by Hisham Matar, Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah, and A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo.

Mar 10, 2023

Eric Newman is joined by LARB Film Editor Annie Berke and film critic Kyle Turner for a special 2023 Oscars Preview episode. Ahead of this weekend's award show, the trio chats about general trends from the past year in movies and in the film industry more broadly and offers a few predictions for which stars and flicks they think will take home the night's biggest prizes. Eric, Annie, and Kyle also dish on their faves and flops from the year in film, including The Fabelmans, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Banshees of Inisherin, Tár, The Whale, Don't Worry Darling, M3GAN, and much more.

Mar 3, 2023

Kate Wolf is joined by writer and critic Emmanuel Iduma to discuss his new memoir, I Am Still With You: A Reckoning With Silence, Inheritance, and History. The book follows Iduma’s return to his native Nigeria after many years of living abroad. It recounts his travels through the southern portion of the country in search of information about one of his uncles—the man for whom he was named but never met. The elder Emmanuel disappeared after fighting in Nigeria’s Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, a conflict that lasted from 1967 to 1970, and came on the heels of Nigeria’s independence from British Rule. Though it touched the lives of a significant amount of the population, and killed over a million Igbo people, the war is still shrouded in mystery within the country, and like Iduma’s uncle, the fates of many of its casualties remain unknown. In I Am Still With You, Iduma meets the lacunae of his uncle’s life head on, in turn confronting other painful absences within his family with a thoughtful introspection, using history, literature, the archive, and vivid encounters from everyday life to make a path across the abyss.

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