Posts Tagged: Los Angeles Review of Books

Investigating the Network Form

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At the Los Angeles Review Of Books, Mary Pappalardo reviews Patrick Jagoda’s Network Aesthetics, an examination of networked art from Syriana to alternate reality games:

Networked narrative forms—the novel, the film, the television drama—represent and help to create our sense of the network, without which more participatory forms, particularly games that facilitate affective encounters with other actors, could not exist.

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The Ordinary Extraordinary

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In an interview with Mark Greif for Los Angeles Review of Books, Greg Gerke frames Against Everything as an essay collection that faces outward, more political and less personal, despite its origins in rarified academia. Greif cites the influence and inspiration of traditions of thought exemplified by Susan Sontag and Stanley Cavell, the latter whose philosophy was rooted in “the ordinary”:

In this extended vision of ordinary language, what was principally required was sensitive listening, and a certain persistence, or obstinacy, in contemplating what you heard—and modesty about the value of your answers, except insofar as they inspired others to talk, too.

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Hands Off

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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.”

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Profiling the Princess of Darkness

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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.

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How Albert Camus Wrote a French Classic

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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.

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The Queer History of Children Books

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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.

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Born of a Limitless Imagination

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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.

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Ghost in the Machine

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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.

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Chris Kraus + Jill Soloway

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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?”

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What Do I Know?

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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.

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From the Italian

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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.

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Feeding Your Head: The History of LARB

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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.

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Poetry as Peace Work

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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. 

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Common Strange

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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.

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Thrilling and Bewildering

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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.

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National Amnesia

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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.

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John’s Pixie Dream Girls

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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.

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