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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: Page 1
Oct 21, 2022

On this special LARB Book Club episode of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Medaya Ocher are joined by Namwali Serpell, to speak about her new novel, The Furrows. One of the most daring and protean literary voices working today, Serpell is a Zambian-born novelist and essayist, and a professor of English at Harvard University. Her debut novel, The Old Drift, a genre-bending saga tracing the legacies of three families, appeared in 2019 and won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, and the Los Angeles Times’s Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Her equally unclassifiable — a compliment, that — work of nonfiction, Stranger Faces, appeared the following year, as part of Transit Books’ series of Undelivered Lectures, and was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Serpell is also the recipient of a 2020 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing, and a 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Like The Old Drift, The Furrows defies narrative conventions and readerly expectations, but it does so with a narrower aim in view, homing in on the after-affects — which are, truth be told, manifold — of a particular, though uncertain, trauma, an event that fractures the protagonist’s life and sense of self at the age of 12. Blamed for the death of her younger brother, Cassandra is haunted by the presence of his absence — or is it simply his presence? — for the rest of her days. What Serpell’s novel tells us is what Cassandra promises to tell us: not what happened, but how it felt.
Also, Kathern Scanlan, author of Kick the Latch returns to recommend Charles Reznikoff's Testimony: The United States 1885-1915: Recitative.

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