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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: September, 2023
Sep 29, 2023

In the first half of the show, Medaya Ocher speaks with Hilary Leichter about her novel Terrace Story. It follows a young family who live in cramped quarters in a big city, surviving but financially strapped. One day, a woman named Stephanie comes over and when she opens the closet door they discover a magic terrace, which immediately disappears once Stephanie leaves, and only appears again when she returns. Suddenly, the family's tight, mediumrestricted lives take a turn for the magical—and the tragic.
Then, Kate Wolf is joined by writer, artist, and beloved former LARB senior editor Lisa Teasley to talk about her latest book of gripping short stories, Fluid, her first in two decades.

Sep 22, 2023

Ross Gay joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to talk about his latest, book, THE BOOK OF (MORE) DELIGHTS, a second installment of THE BOOK OF DELIGHTS, published before Ross, us, and the world were plunged into the COVID19 pandemic. Like it's predecessor THE BOOK OF (MORE) DELIGHTS features a collection of short essays that bring into focus the small wonders we so often overlook in our busy lives. Among them are the wonders of a neighbor's fruit tree, a discovery of self-maturation in an impromptu pickup ball game, and appreciating the toothy feel of a stolen notebook. Moving between the intimate record of Ross' quotidian experiences and the larger political, social, and philosophical questions that saturate and surround them, THE BOOK OF (MORE) DELIGHTS revels in the everyday joy—and sometimes the pain and horror—of a world right at our fingertips… if only we'd take the time to notice it.
Also, Thea Lenarduzzi, author of Dandelions, returns to recommend A Life by Guy de Maupassant, translated by Roger Pearson.

Sep 15, 2023

Writer and longtime TLS editor Thea Lenarduzzi joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to speak about her debut book Dandelions, a winner of the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize. Weaving together memoir, history, and criticism, Dandelions explores the life of Lenarduzzi’s grandmother, Dirce, a totemic figure in her family who was born almost a century ago into Mussolini’s Italy. Political and economic circumstances, as well as personal tragedy, force Dirce to leave Italy for England, first as a child and later as an adult. Migration becomes one of the central realities of her life, and subsequently the life of her son and then Lenarduzzi herself. But even as the conditions of these moves between countries grow less critical, the difficulties of immigrating remain, complicating and splintering a sense of identity and home, foregrounding difference, and calling belonging into question. Lenarduzzi portrays the gravity of what for so many across the world is still the most dire of decisions, tracing the effect emigrating can have over multiple generations, while also finding inspiration in her family’s resiliency and the stories they leave behind.

Also, Colin Dickey, author of Under the Eye of Power, returns to recommend Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young.

Sep 8, 2023

Colin Dickey joins Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss his latest book, Under the Eye of Power, in which he charts the history of America through its fear of secret societies, like the Illuminati and the Freemasons, as well as the enduring cultures of conspiracy theories that spring up around these shadowy clubs. Colin posits that our national belief in the fantastical and conspiratorial is the slave we reach for in view of the chaos and randomness of history, the rising and falling fortunes of Americans, and the messiness of our democracy. Only by seeing the cyclical nature of our national obsession with secret societies and conspiracies–one that no doubt resounds for many listeners right now–can we break its grip on our society, politics, and culture.
Also, Maya Binyam, author of Hangman, returns to recommend The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon.

Sep 1, 2023

Writer Maya Binyam joins Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher to speak about her debut novel Hangman. The book begins with a man who finds himself returning to his home country somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in 26 years. But the places, customs, and traditions he encounters there have become foreign or burdensome to him, and the people he meets, even members of his own family, strange and unrecognizable. Somewhere in the country his brother lays dying, but his journey to be by his side is marked by a series of losses—of money, clothes, and passport. Along the way, he’s forced to rely on the stories and experiences of the strangers he meets and speaks with at length to make sense of things, even as he sees himself as disinterested or apart from them. Working against more typical narratives of homecoming and migration, the novel pushes deeper into questions about the essentialism and continuity of self, the individual versus the abstract, the obligation of kinship and the necessity of faith, as well as the possibility of political change.

Also, Prudence Peiffer, author of The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever, returns to recommend two books The Nameplate: Jewelry, Culture, and Identity by Marcel Rosa-Salas and Isabel Attyah Flower, as well as My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland.

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