Posts Tagged: Los Angeles Review of Books
Writer-actor-comedian Phoebe Robinson’s debut essay collection is You Can’t Touch My Hair: and Other Things I Still Have to Explain. As Janice Roshalle Littlejohn writes for the LARB blog, “Her writing is relatable and woke, confronting racism and how to cope with white guilt, feminism and female issues, and America’s problematic relationship with black hair.” Robinson herself says, “Part of the reason I wanted to write this book is because when it comes to matters of race, it’s usually just white men talking to black men.”...more
The four books Gaitskill produced over the next two decades, all of them rife with sexual violence and self-destruction, cemented her reputation as the “Princess of Darkness”—as did her much-discussed past. Gaitskill, who was born in Kentucky and raised in Michigan, ran away as a teenager, was briefly institutionalized, worked as a stripper and call girl, and wrote publicly about her own experiences with rape and abuse.
Leah Mirakhor interviews Homegoing author Yaa Gyasi for the Los Angeles Review of Books. On her novel and Ness, a primary character, Gyasi says:
This novel was an attempt for me to say: We cannot look away when something like this is happening.
Kamel Daoud’s The Mersault Investigation catapulted Albert Camus’s The Stranger into the center of conversation in many literary circles. After helping get Camus’s Algerian Chronicles published in English in 2013, Alice Kaplan’s latest effort, Looking For The Stranger, explains how the book came to be....more
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kelly Blewett retraces a fragment of the long-needed queer history of children books:
Nordstrom was also queer. Although it seems she rarely mixed her private life with her professional one, a number of the most famous writers whom she published were queer, too, including Brown, Fitzhugh, and Sendak.
Cook’s portraits are usually accompanied by texts distilled from interviews she conducts with her subjects (afterward, she says, because she prefers the shoot itself to remain as meditative as possible). This provides her, and her audience, with a verbal layer of insight not normally accessible to photographers.
We both survived; we both grew up and made lives for ourselves. But I still can’t bear to think about that summer. We could have died so many times.
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Briallen Hopper recalls a wild summer spent in her late teens while reviewing Robin Wasserman’s Girls on Fire....more
Over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ilana Teitelbaum writes a glowing review of Helen Oyeyemi’s short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, praising Oyeyemi’s singular voice. Teitelbaum writes: “The dazzle of Oyeyemi’s technique fully engages the reader’s mind; the heart is undisturbed....more
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Professor Ted Underwood talks about why Digital Humanities, the new discipline he’s often associated with, doesn’t exist:
It’s true that [Digital Humanities] can be aligned with managerial thinking—administrators like it. It can also be hypnotized by shiny pictures and prone to moralistic groupthink on social media.
Chris Kraus’s experimental, cult classic I Love Dick has been adapted for TV by Jill Soloway, and it’s time to revisit and scrutinize Kraus’s use of the slur “kike,” and indeed Kraus’s sense of her own Jewishness. In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Rebecca Sonkin places Kraus in the Jewish literary tradition of her “macho, horny, predecessors,” and asks, “Could it be that Kraus is the female Jewish schlemiel, an awkward and unlucky person—insecure, emotionally hungry, self-obsessed—for whom things never turn out right?”...more
It is optimistic in terms of fiction and young adult fiction to propose a world in which there is healing, and in which healing exists, because complete or perfect healing doesn’t exist in the real world. But there is the idea of making room for new people.
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, screenwriter Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn makes a strong and timely case for Hollywood to quit casting big-name white actors no matter the role. Particularly egregious, and absurd, is the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio as the 13th century Persian poet Rumi....more
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, essayist Patrick Madden discusses why he was drawn to the medium and how he finds his wide-ranging subjects:
In terms of art — whether sounded or painted or written — a big part of making it is getting beyond the seeming clarity, or admitting that clarity isn’t possible, seeing things in new ways that give hearers, viewers, readers access to a beauty they’ve not experienced before.
The goal is to deliver something from another language into your own language so people will read it and like it. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that you have to be a good writer in your own language.
As part of its “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series, the Los Angeles Review of Books features an interview with Ann Goldstein, translator of Elena Ferrante’s novels....more
I love the English language. I know some people go into translating because they love foreign languages, but I love English above all, and I enjoy translating these foreign texts into my beloved English.
In the first of six-part interview series with literary translators, the Los Angeles Review of Books features a conversation with Lydia Davis....more
Hungry intellectuals are flocking to the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here is the humble story of how LARB came into being in April of 2011. Reader Matthew Weiner (of Mad Men fame) says:
It speaks to Los Angeles in that it’s a little bit renegade… It’s got a little bit of ‘f— you.’ It has the highest chance of any place that I read for me to discover something new.
It’s hard to imagine a book written entirely in emoji that isn’t just about the conceit of writing an entire book in emoji, perhaps marketed as an Urban Outfitters coffee table book for guests to alternately smirk and groan at. And yet, as many digital natives know, emojis can be used in complicated and highly affective ways....more
Over at Los Angeles Review of Books, Leah Mirakhor engages poet Robin Coste Lewis, 2015 National Book Award winner of Voyage of the Sable Venus, in deep and generous conversation about writing and life. Coste Lewis remembers Audre Lorde as a poet who “refused to condescend to her readers,” and who was a great inspiration to Coste Lewis’s seventeen-year-old self....more
Ena Brdjanovic describes the commanding, performative, discomfiting, and off-kilter folk tale qualities of Diane Williams’s recent story collection:
In sum, the 40 short stories of Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine amount to a collage of beautifully trimmed and perplexing details, of moments that make us feel alien in a world we so readily recognize.
Her poems’ shifts from the tactile and concrete to the amorphous and the abstract is simultaneously thrilling and bewildering…
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Noemi Press poetry editor Diana Arterian takes a close look at Sarah Vap’s Viability, a new collection of poems that consider economic and social questions....more
Ten years after his death in 2005, Arthur Miller’s centenary proved a bumper year for productions of his work, and not all of it the old familiars.
The Los Angeles Review of Books shares an adapted essay of a lecture Professor Murray Biggs gave last December to the Baltimore Arts Seminar on Arthur Miller’s centenary....more
Race is an important and central issue in the United States, but what about abroad?
It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), ‘something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember.
Mary Jo Tewes Cramb discusses the perpetuation of the “manic pixie dream girl” stereotype in John Green’s novels:
In Green’s novels, there is considerable tension between the potent appeal of his manic pixie characters, the excitement and fun they bring into the narrators’ lives, and the messages these characters impart about their own lives and identities.
Anne Boyd Rioux reviews a new biography on the wife of Lord Byron, Anne Isabella Milbanke. In her review, Rioux evaluates the still-too-high standard set for women’s biographies, particularly when those women lived in the shadow of famous men:
Insisting that the female relatives of famous men be accomplished players on the world stage in their own right in order to warrant biographical treatment is perhaps asking too much.