LA Review of Books

LA Review of Books

The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. The Los Angeles Review of Books magazine was created in part as a response to the disappearance of the traditional newspaper book review supplement, and, with it, the art of lively, intelligent long-form writing on recent publications in every genre, ranging from fiction to politics. The Los Angeles Review of Books seeks to revive and reinvent the book review for the internet age, and remains committed to covering and representing today’s diverse literary and cultural landscape.

Episodes

April 19, 2024 63 mins
A double-header episode about two new novels that each feature high stakes feats of translation. First, the translator and writer Jenny Croft speaks with Medaya Ocher about her debut novel, The Extinction of Irena Rey. It follows eight translators who have just arrived at the house of a famous, beloved writer, the titular Irena Rey. Suddenly, Irena disappears, and the translators are left to figure out what has happened to her. Stu...
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Kate Wolf speaks with the poet Victoria Chang about her latest collection of poems, With My Back to the World. The book is in deep conversation with the work of the painter Agnes Martin: each poem takes the title of one of Martin’s paintings and is also often accompanied by Chang’s own visual interpretations of Martin’s work. Regarding Martin’s intricate grids and spare compositions inevitably allows Chang to reflect on form, empti...
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Eric Newman speaks with director Morgan Neville about his new film "STEVE! (martin) a documentary in 2 pieces," which explores the legendary comedian's meteoric rise to standup stardom, his abrupt pivot to TV and film, and his return to stage in the present as he and close friend Martin Short prep a new comedy tour. Eric and Morgan discuss the treasure trove of never-before-seen archival that brings Martin's early career to life, w...
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On this special episode, hosts Medaya Ocher, Kate Wolf, and Eric Newman talk about the ethics and politics of memoir in the wake of several recent controversies. Touching on Blake Butler’s Molly, Emily Gould’s essay in The Cut on her flirtation with divorce, and much more, the gang considers who gets to tell whose stories, how, and why.
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March 29, 2024 50 mins
Eric Newman speaks with writer Tommy Orange about his novel Wandering Stars, a multigenerational epic that is both prequel and sequel to his award-winning 2018 debut There There. Beginning in the immediate aftermath of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the novel follows a Native family's journey across more than 150 years as they struggle to maintain their connection to one another and to their Cheyenne history and identity in the f...
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March 22, 2024 56 mins
Kate Wolf speaks with sociologist Gretchen Sisson about her first book, Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood. The book is based on interviews Sisson conducted over the last decade with birth mothers who relinquished their children for private adoption in the US. Most often Sisson found that these women deeply regretted their decision, and that poverty was the driving force behind it. Along...
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Eric Newman and Kate Wolf speak with Brad Gooch about his new biography, Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring. A deep-dive into the life of an artist whose work can be seen today on everything from museum walls to t-shirts and tote bags, Gooch's book unearths the cultural moment that gave rise to Haring's meteoric career before his untimely death in 1990. Moving across topics including the commercialization of art, cultural a...
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March 8, 2024 57 mins
Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman speak with megawatt mystery maven Tana French about her latest novel, The Hunter. Set in the fictional rural Irish town of Ardnakelty, The Hunter is a dark, slow-burning story of the ties that knit together small communities–and the animosities that tear them apart. French talks about how American Westerns influenced the tone and texture of her latest novels, where she gets the ideas for her dark storie...
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In this special episode, Eric Newman chats with LARB Film & TV editor Annie Berke and Film Comment co-editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute for a preview of this year's Academy Awards. Breaking down the top Oscar contenders, the group talks the best and worst of the year in movies, from Barbie to Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Poor Things, Maestro, and more. If you loved–or hated!–the year in film, this episode is for y...
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Leslie Jamison joins Medaya and Kate to discuss her latest book Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story, a memoir that chronicles the birth of her daughter and the collapse of her marriage soon after. Jamison writes about the bond with her own mother, as well as the intense, consuming love for her child. The book is not only a story about her most intimate relationships, but an examination of doubt, betrayal, forgiveness and, as the ...
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February 23, 2024 59 mins
Eric Newman speaks with Phillip B. Williams about his debut novel, Ours. A surrealist epic largely set in the American midwest both pre- and post-emancipation, the book tells the story of Saint, a conjure woman who uses her supernatural powers to liberate slaves and keep them safe in a magically secluded town near St. Louis. But as Saint's magic begins to falter and newcomers appear in the town, the residents chafe at her power ove...
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Kate Wolf speaks to cultural critic and historian Lucy Sante about her latest book, I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition. It is the story of how as living as Luc for almost the entirety of her life, three years ago, she became Lucy. The book begins with the letter she sent her closest friends with the "bombshell" confession that the image of herself as a woman had been “the consuming furnace at the center” of her life, ...
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Adam Shatz speaks with Kate Wolf and Eric Newman about his latest book, The Rebel’s Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon. The book is both a biography of Fanon— one of the most important thinkers on race and colonialism of the last century— as well as an intellectual history that looks closely at his most seminal texts. Shatz uncovers the events that led to the writing of books such as Black Skin, White Masks and the Wre...
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Writer Nathan Thrall joins Kate Wolf to talk about his recent book, A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, which was published last October and named one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, The Economist, The New Republic and the Financial Times. It is an account of a horrific accident that took place in the outskirts of Jerusalem on a rainy day in 2012, when a school bus full of kindergarten...
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January 26, 2024 55 mins
Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman are joined by E.J. Koh to discuss her debut novel, The Liberators, LARB Book Club's pick for Winter 2024. Widely acclaimed by critics, The Liberators tells the story of two families as they navigate love and survival from the Korean dictatorship of the early 1980s through the Sewol Ferry sinking of 2014. Between those bookending events lie a fraught terrain of marriage, birth, death, love, hope, and dis...
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The philosopher Kohei Saito speaks to Eric Newman and Kate Wolf about his book Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto. A critique of our insufficient response to the climate crisis, Slow Down aptly points to capitalism—its race for profits and endlessly expansive production— as the chief cause of our present emergency. The cure is not a green capitalism (such as what we see in proposals for a Green New Deal here in the United States) bu...
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January 12, 2024 51 mins
Medaya Ocher and Eric Newman are joined by author Lexi Freiman to discuss her latest novel, The Book of Ayn. A punchy satire of contemporary life, the story centers on Anna, a writer reeling from being cancelled after the New York Times dubs her novel classist. When Anna happens upon a group of Ayn Rand enthusiasts, she takes a shine to Rand's philosophy and biography, seeking to reorient her life around Rand's ideal of "rational s...
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January 5, 2024 52 mins
Eric Newman and Kate Wolf speak with writer Alicia Kennedy about No Meat Required: The Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating. The book unpacks the ethical, spiritual, environmental, economic, and political dimensions of vegetarianism and veganism. It traces the emergence of meatless eating in the US, from 19th century religious groups to various subcultures—including commune-dwellers, Rastafarians, Buddhists, p...
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December 29, 2023 49 mins
Author Ed Park joins Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to discuss his new novel, Same Bed Different Dreams. It begins with a former writer named Soon Shen, who’s given up fiction for a cozy suburban life in upstate New York, working for a tech conglomerate. At a booze-soaked literary dinner back in Manhattan one night, Soon encounters a famous Korean author named Echo and later finds himself in possession of Echo’s new book, Same Bed, Diff...
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December 22, 2023 58 mins
Together we've travelled one more trip around the sun... and that means it's time for our favorite episode of the year! Kate, Medaya, and Eric share their favorite books, movies, TV shows, music, magazines (a new category!) and more in this look back at the year that was 2023.
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