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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: November, 2022
Nov 25, 2022

Hilton Als, joins Eric Newman to discuss his new book, My Pinup, a hybrid memoir-essay that explores questions of race, desire, and autonomy through an intense and intimate focus on Hilton's relationship with and to polymath musician and sexual dynamo Prince.  By looking at Prince as a subject of queer desire and being and at his recording career as a study in the struggle between Black excellence and white corporate control, MY PINUP probes the simultaneous allure of Black queer aesthetics and its disavowal in the hostile terrains of the music industry and American culture. The memoir/essay offers us a chance to remember and get close to the Prince that was, and to mourn the Prince that could have been. 
Also, Dionne Irving, author of The Islands, returns to recommend A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib.

Nov 18, 2022

Dionne Irving joins Eric Newman to talk about her debut story collection, The Islands. Moving across the United States, Canada, Jamaica, England, and France, the collection explores the female characters’ experience of diasporic dislocation, that feeling of never quite fitting into the rhythms of either their adopted culture or their culture of origin. Dionne’s stories reveal origin — that foundational and orienting sense of where one is “from” — as an eternally unsettled question for her female protagonists, troubling the ways in which they find or make a home for themselves among people and places that never feel entirely theirs.
Also, Peter Brooks, author of Seduced by Story: The Use and Abuse of Narrative, returns to recommend The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste as well as The Anomaly by Herve Le Tellier.

Nov 11, 2022

Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by literary critic and scholar Peter Brooks. Brooks is the Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus at Yale. He is the author of many books but perhaps most notably of Reading for the Plot, originally published in 1984, which initiated the narrative turn in literary criticism. In it, Brooks focused on the story, how it was told and how it moved forward.  
His latest book Suduced by Story returns to narrative as its main subject, 30 years later. Brooks now finds narrative everywhere — from President Bush invoking the “stories” of all of his cabinet members to corporate websites touting the company “story”. What does this narrative takeover mean? Why have we started to privilege storytelling over any other form of expression? Brooks writes “This…suggests something in our culture has gone astray.” Peter Brooks joins us today to discuss, as he puts it, “the misuses, and mindless uses, of narrative.”
Also, Darryl Pinckney, author of Come Back in September, returns to recommend three books: Elizabeth Hardwick's Seduction and Betrayal; Margo Jefferson's Constructing a Nervous System; and Marina Warner's Esmond and Ilia.

Nov 4, 2022

In the first half of the show, Kate Wolf and Eric Newman are joined by LARB contributing editor Jon Wiener to remember the historian Mike Davis, who died last week at 76 years old. Jon and Mike were longtime friends and together they wrote Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties, Davis's final book. Then Kate speaks with the writer Constance Debré about her novel, Love Me Tender, the first of her books to be translated in English. It follows a woman, who like Debré was once a lawyer, but has quit her job, and vacated the comforts of her former life to devote herself to her writing. She has a son from her marriage named Paul. After telling her husband, who she's separated from, that she has decided to be with women, the narrator’s ex starts to turn Paul against her and prevents her from seeing him. The novel takes place over the span of a glacial court case that will decide the narrator's fate with her son—all the while asking critical questions about the fearsome nature of unconditional love and attachment, the roles of gender and motherhood, and the unassailability of the truth.

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