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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: January, 2022
Jan 28, 2022
Eric and Medaya are joined by Neel Patel, an author and TV writer based in Los Angeles, to talk about his debut novel, Tell Me How To Be. The novel opens as Akash, a gay songwriter in his twenties living in LA, returns to his hometown in Illinois in the wake of his father’s death to help his mother, Renu, and brother, Bijal, sell his family home before his mother returns to London. Akash is the black sheep of the family, still deeply closeted and reeling from a failed relationship of his own. But he’s not the only one keeping secrets. Renu is holding fast to a long-simmering love that she’s told nobody about; and things are not as good as they seem for golden son Bijal. Alternating narration between Akash’s and Renu’s perspectives, Tell Me How To Be is an intimate story about race, sexuality, and the secrets that keep a family together, but also tear it apart.
Also, Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Goliath, returns to give a glowing recommendation for This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar.
Jan 21, 2022

Eric and Kate are joined by Tochi Onyebuchi to discuss his debut adult science fiction novel Goliath. Told through a series of vignettes, Goliath meditates on a world destroyed by environmental and viral catastrophe, in which the privileged largely white population has decamped for a space colony.  The group left on earth, predominantly people of color, try to eke out an existence amid the ruins.  Delving into such topics as colonization, gentrification, and the racial conflict that courses through American history and which, in the novel, firmly shapes its future and the future of the world in the 2050s, Goliath is a haunting and incisive look at a world that could very much be our own.

Also, Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends, returns to recommend his favorite book of 2021, Luster by Raven Leilani.

Jan 14, 2022

Boris Dralyuk, LARB’s Editor-in-Chief, joins Medaya Ocher for a very special ex-Soviet edition of the LARB Book Club and Radio Hour. The guest of honor is the doyen of Russian-American letters, Gary Shteyngart. The author of the novels The Russian Debutante’s HandbookAbsurdistanSuper Sad True Love Story, and Lake Success, as well as of the memoir Little Failure, Shteyngart’s sharp sense of humor, memorable characters, and up-to-the-minute responsiveness to developments in the culture have won him comparisons to Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, as well as a number of prizes and a wide, dedicated readership. His latest novel, Our Country Friends, is a poignant, affectionate tale of pandemic life set at a “House on the Hill” in the Hudson Valley. More than one critic has called it Chekhovian, and Chekhov does make a well-timed appearance, but this eventful novel is no pastiche. During the talk, Shetyngart touches on the lessons of Soviet and Russian life, the pernicious effects of social media, the importance of community, and the ways in which fiction can and should address the unfolding crises of modern life.
Also, James Hannaham, author of Pilot Impostor, returns to recommend Megan Mylan’s 2021 documentary about Syrian refugees, Simple as Water.

Jan 7, 2022

Author, activist, and novelist Arundhati Roy joins us from Delhi to discuss her new collection of essays, Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. Roy is well known for her impassioned political writing, as well as her two novels, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and The God of Small Things, which won the Man Booker in 1997. She talks with us about the rise of Indian nationalism, Modi’s descent into fascism, the oppression of Muslims in India, and the role of fiction and literature in the world today.
Also, Yaa Gyasi, author of Transcendent Kingdom, returns to recommend Saidiya Hartman's groundbreaking Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals.

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