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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: April, 2021
Apr 30, 2021

Eric and Daya speak with the acclaimed short story writer and novelist Helen Oyeyemi. Born in Nigeria, Oyeyemi grew up in England, and her first novel, the Icarus Girl was published while she was still in high school. Her other work includes the short story collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, along with five other novels, including Mr. Fox, Gingerbread and Boy, Snow, Bird. In 2013, she was named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists. 

She joins us today to talk about her latest novel called Peaces, published this past month. Peaces is about two young lovers, Otto and Xavier Shin, who board an unusual train to celebrate their unofficial honeymoon. Accompanied by their pet mongoose, the two begin to explore the cars and the meet the three other passengers on board. The book can be described as a madcap existential mystery at the center of which is a question about how we see other people and what it means to be seen or not seen.

Rachel Kushner returns to recommend The Autobiography of Chuck Berry.

And there's also special bonus gushing over the recently completed season of Drag Race.

Apr 23, 2021

On a special LARB Book Club episode of the Radio Hour, Boris Dralyuk and Medaya Ocher are joined by George Saunders, author of four collections of virtuosic short stories and of the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. His latest work is A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life. Examining individual works by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Ivan Turgenev, and Nikolai Gogol from a variety of angles, Saunders teases out lessons for writers and readers alike. During the conversation, he discusses what fiction can teach us about ourselves and each other, shares his experiences teaching these stories over the past two decades, and reflects on the role of humor in his work.

Apr 16, 2021

Kate Wolf is joined by writer and film critic Nick Pinkerton to discuss his book-length essay on Tsai Ming-liang’s film Goodbye, Dragon Inn, which revolves around the final screening at a cinema in Taiwan — on the very day that 300 movie theaters were shuttered across Southern California. The book is both a eulogy and a call to arms for cinema. Kate and Nick share a defiant sadness, revel in memories of the power and meaning they found in a communal space of shared dreams, and wonder how it might be preserved amidst the tyranny of tiny screens and the banality of the bottom line.

Also, Sam Cohen, author of the collection of stories Sarahland, drops by to recommend Larry Mitchell’s The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions.

Apr 9, 2021

Kate and Medaya are joined by Rachel Kushner, author previously of Telex from Cuba and the Flamethrowers, both nominated for the National Book Award, and The Mars Room, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Award. Rachel's new book is a collection of her essays from the past two decades, The Hard Crowd, which exhibits the inspiring breadth of her interests and influences, many of which she discusses - from motorcycle racing, to prison abolition, the Anarcho-Marxist Italian left, rock impresario Bill Graham, the writing of Marguerite Duras, and the people and places of her rough-edged youth in San Francisco.

Also, Jackie Wang, author of The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void, returns to recommend Nobody: A Hymn to the Sea by poet Alice Oswald

Apr 2, 2021

Kate and Medaya talk with poet, essayist, and critic Jackie Wang about her new collection of poetry The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void.  As an Assistant Professor of Culture and Media Studies at The New School, Wang also works on race, surveillance technology, and the political economy of prisons and police.  In her poetry, she uses dreams to get to very concrete historical and social issues; along with the apocalypse, survival, intimacy, speech, silence and of course, sunflowers. Jackie discusses the relationship between her poetry and academic work; and her exploration of dreams, psychoanalysis, and the work of the imagination “the work of creating openings where there were previously none.”

Also, Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days, returns to recommend both Daniel Orozco's collection of stories Orientation; and also Amy Hempel's collection Sing To It.

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