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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: February, 2024
Feb 23, 2024

Eric Newman speaks with Phillip B. Williams about his debut novel, Ours. A surrealist epic largely set in the American midwest both pre- and post-emancipation, the book tells the story of Saint, a conjure woman who uses her supernatural powers to liberate slaves and keep them safe in a magically secluded town near St. Louis. But as Saint's magic begins to falter and newcomers appear in the town, the residents chafe at her power over them, eager for a freedom, identity, and community forged on their own terms. In the interview, Williams discusses his novel's blend of diasporic traditions and spirituality, how his characters repair themselves and each other, and what it means to read–and write–with love.
Also, Lucy Sante, author of I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition, returns to recommend April Ashley's Odyssey by Duncan Fallowell and April Ashley.

Feb 16, 2024

Kate Wolf speaks to cultural critic and historian Lucy Sante about her latest book, I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition. It is the story of how as living as Luc for almost the entirety of her life, three years ago, she became Lucy. The book begins with the letter she sent her closest friends with the "bombshell" confession that the image of herself as a woman had been “the consuming furnace at the center” of her life, but that she had repressed it with almost equal force. Sante goes on to reflect back on that life, from her time growing up in Belgium as the only child of emotionally distant working class parents, to her adolescence as an immigrant in suburban New Jersey, and finally her nascent adult years as a punk and budding writer in a pre-corporatized New York City. Intercutting this past with the practical steps and transcendent emotions that accompany her first few months of transitioning, Sante explores the ways she contorted herself to fit into her male identity and the great unhappiness it caused, as well as the path to finally unburdening herself of her secret and emerging as Lucy.
Also, Nathan Thrall, author of A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, returns to recommend Rian Malan's My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience.

Feb 9, 2024

Adam Shatz speaks with Kate Wolf and Eric Newman about his latest book, The Rebel’s Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon. The book is both a biography of Fanon— one of the most important thinkers on race and colonialism of the last century— as well as an intellectual history that looks closely at his most seminal texts. Shatz uncovers the events that led to the writing of books such as Black Skin, White Masks and the Wretched of the Earth by following Fanon from his birth in Martinique (then a French colony), to his time serving in World War II, his studies in Lyon, his innovative work as a psychiatrist in France and Algeria, as well as his pivotal decision to join in the fight for Algerian independence and become a part of the FLN. Though Fanon died at only 36, in 1961, Shatz also explores the many afterlives of his work, from his embrace by the Black Panthers and his influence on filmmakers such as Claude Lanzmann and Ousmane Sembene to echoes of his thought in the continued movements for Black liberation and decolonization today.
Also, E. J. Koh, author of The Liberators, returns to recommend The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernandez, translated by Natasha Wimmer.

Feb 2, 2024

Writer Nathan Thrall joins Kate Wolf to talk about his recent book, A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, which was published last October and named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The Economist, The New Republic and the Financial Times. It is an account of a horrific accident that took place in the outskirts of Jerusalem on a rainy day in 2012, when a school bus full of kindergarten students on their way to a class trip collided with a semi-trailer and caught on fire. Thrall follows the lives of a number of people who were directly impacted by the tragedy, delving into their pasts and the ways in which the decades-old conflict between Israel and Palestine has indelibly shaped their trajectories. Chief among them is Abed Salama, a Palestinian, and father of five-year-old Milad, who was a passenger on the bus. In looking closely at the material conditions of Salama’s life, and the way they play out within the worst circumstances imaginable, Thrall evinces the toll of occupation in the most human of terms.
Also, Kohei Saito, author of Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto, returns to recommend Naomi Klein's No Logo.

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