Conspiratorial Realism: On Vladimir Sorokin, Victor Pelevin, and Russia’s Post-Postmodern Turn

If readers can look past the surprisingly detailed descriptions of sex with planks of wood or the exhausting reptiloid monologues that occupy so many of the novel’s pages, they might find themselves wondering if Pelevin has started to believe in his own inventions. The only artifact of this entire episode is the titular “lamp of

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Coming Home from Irony: An Interview with Percival Everett, Author of “So Much Blue”

It was good to see something different. Does film as a medium, for instance, shape your writing? The meaning of abstraction is pretty abstract. But to presume that I am smart enough to preach a position runs counter to my artistic sense. The place is full of film, TV, and fiction writers. ¤ Yogita Goyal

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A Turkish Woman in the Oedipus Complex: Orhan Pamuk’s “The Red-Haired Woman”

The story spoke to them in just the same way that Oedipus’ murder of his father or Macbeth’s obsession with power and death speak to people throughout the Western world. The success of this novel, subtly staged, is that it allows us to consider how these ideologies might coexist. At the novel’s close, the son,

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Donald E. Westlake: The Writer’s Writer’s Writer

Unlike the racialized criminals of conventional crime fiction — from the paisans of Mario Puzo to the African-American and Latino street gangsters of Elmore Leonard and Chester Himes — Westlake’s bad guys are almost uniformly Waspish and unspecific, from the Carters and Fairfaxes of the Parker books to the multinational corporatist eco-villain, Richard Curtis, of

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A Pear, a Bear, and Some Hair: Caricature and Freedom of the Press

Many books have been published on the history of caricature, and they always include several of La Caricature’s notorious images. (I assure you, this was written 169 years ago, not yesterday.) Instead of the liberal policies that were promised as a result of the July Revolution of 1830, Louis Philippe immediately instituted press restrictions. Charlie

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Game of Thrones, “Death is the Enemy”

I’m tired of watching interestingly complex female characters become mean and stupid—the Sansa and Arya thing is interesting, intermittently, but it’s also just so damned unnecessary, and requires them both to be maximally petty and mean and lacking in insight or compassion—and I’m SO SO SO tired of seeing Queen Daenerys cheerfully subordinate her entire

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The Return of Fun: BOOM! Box Comics Make Progressive Politics Entertaining

Overall, BOOM! They sometimes behave according to more traditional gender norms — for example, they spend lots of time doing art, and April dresses in a very girly style — but they are in no way shackled to these norms. It even shows that gender is not fixed or immutable. Box title that failed to

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Soviet Pseudoscience: The History of Mind Control

Inspired by the scientific management of labor devised by the mechanical engineer F. There should be no pointed objects, and no fire. W. Taylor, Bolsheviks championed the “selfless devotion” and “organic fusion” of the soviet worker with the factory as a whole. Industrialization and the machine were seen as tools of emancipation rather than oppression.

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The Bodies We Won’t See: Gary Simmons and “Face to Face” at the California African American Museum

The use of white paint present in both exhibitions suggests that African-American artists struggle to separate the means of resistance from the cultural productions they wish to denounce. Pants shield his legs until the painting ends just above his knees; the frame excludes his body below his thigh. Artists such as Adrian Piper and Andrea

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From Pariahs to the Privileged: On Keri Leigh Merritt’s “Masterless Men”

They would much rather have poor whites dependent on them for information than risk their exposure to abolitionist arguments, particularly those that portrayed poor whites as another of slavery’s victims. An 1849 abolitionist editorial, for instance, declared that “the free white people of these States have no interest in slave property, but on the contrary

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The Last Bastion of Free America?: Meagan Day’s “Maximum Sunlight”

By the end of Maximum Sunlight, Day hasn’t cleanly answered her questions about Tonopah. For the progeny of white settlers, land in this part of the country represents both freedom and safety — freedom from other people and safety from anyone imagined to be threatening. Born of Lakota and Wyandot heritage, he held numerous world

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Christopher Nolan in Command: The Dunkirk Spirit Fleshed

Soon after, her husband returns home from his adventure and politely asks what she did during his absence. The IMAX sound system is also engineered to enhance the muscular sonic effects that Nolan exploits to magnify both the thundering reverberation of the bombs and, crucially, the varied, consistently impressive, orchestral accompaniment composed by Hans Zimmer.

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LARB Radio Hour: Danzy Senna’s “New People”: Race, Identity, Romance, and Jonestown; Plus Toni Cade Bambara

Senna describes how she crafts historical/cultural geographies: of Brooklyn in the ’90s, Stanford University a few years earlier, and the nightmare utopia of Jonestown. Also, poet and choreographer Harmony Holiday returns to recommend Toni Cade Bambara’s novel The Salt Eaters. LARB Radio Hour: Danzy Senna’s “New People”: Race, Identity, Romance, and Jonestown; Plus Toni Cade

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