Reconstructing the Village of the Divino Salvador

Reconstructing the Village of the Divino Salvador EVERY AUGUST, Salvadorans around the world celebrate the Festival of El Salvador del Mundo, the patron saint and namesake of the Central American country. Two million mark the feast in Los Angeles, home to one quarter of the world’s Salvadorans. Originally driven out of their homeland by a […]

At Play in Horror Comics

At Play in Horror Comics This piece is dedicated to William Bradley, who wrote our 2015 Halloween review and a number of other pieces for LARB. A brilliant essayist and nonfiction writer, William passed away after a long battle with cancer on August 28, 2017. He is deeply missed by his friends and readers. ¤ […]

Nightmare Consumption: On Dina Khapaeva’s “The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture”

Nightmare Consumption: On Dina Khapaeva’s “The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture” DINA KHAPAEVA has written a wonderfully interesting book about a subject most of us would rather not think about, much less devote years of our lives to studying: death. Hers is, fundamentally, an anti-death book. Wait, don’t stop reading — it’s not a […]

Reading Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider” After Charlottesville

Reading Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider” After Charlottesville EVEN THE OCCASIONAL CONSUMER of progressive discourse in the United States is probably more familiar with Audre Lorde’s aphorisms than she might suspect. Quotes like “women are powerful and dangerous,” “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” and “your silence will not protect you” are as […]

Protest and Precincts

Protest and Precincts I MOVED TO LOS ANGELES from Santa Barbara in the early 1980s to walk precincts. Or at least that’s how it appears to me now. I was interested in “getting into politics” and walking a precinct — the neighborhood area that determines where a person votes — was a way to earn […]

Growing Up, East of Europe

Growing Up, East of Europe IT’S HARD TO MISS the similarities between Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation (2016) and his breakout film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007). Both films focus on a single protagonist engaged in an all-consuming quest on someone else’s behalf. Each unfolds over a very short time period — one day, […]

The Surreal Sources of “Lolita”: Nabokov and Dalí

The Surreal Sources of “Lolita”: Nabokov and Dalí The following essay is an excerpt from Delia Ungureanu’s From Paris to Tlön: Surrealism as World Literature, out this week from Bloomsbury Press. ¤ VLADIMIR NABOKOV’S RUNAWAY best seller Lolita, first published in 1955, established him as a major force in American literature, even as it provoked lasting […]

A Quarter-Mile Long and a Century Deep

A Quarter-Mile Long and a Century Deep WHAT’S MORE AMERICAN than unresolved racial anxiety bubbling over into violence? To say that the current cultural moment provides no shortage of examples is almost beside the point; that’s always been true and always will be thanks to the racial complexities of the American project. The scale doesn’t […]

Wiry Minstrels and Bloodletting Monster: William McKeen’s “Everybody Had an Ocean: Music and Mayhem in 1960s Los Angeles”

Wiry Minstrels and Bloodletting Monster: William McKeen’s “Everybody Had an Ocean: Music and Mayhem in 1960s Los Angeles” TOWARD THE END of his densely packed and star-studded survey Everybody Had an Ocean: Music and Mayhem in 1960s Los Angeles, William McKeen offers an apocryphal exchange between music producer Terry Melcher and an aspiring local singer-songwriter […]