Category Archives: LARB Channels


The Coded Body

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel The Offing.

By E. Jane

Throughout July, The Offing observes National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month with a spotlight, across genres and departments, on work that considers the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, and mental health and illness. This is one of those spotlighted works.

Working through a number of digital mediums, conceptual artist E. Jane interrogates what it means to be Black and Feminine and living in America in the age of the internet, where we can just as easily hide as we can connect.

E. Jane lives with Bipolar I Disorder, and though it isn’t addressed directly in her/their art, it informs the work — and reminds me of how the symptoms of the bipolar patient mirror those of any Othered person who has been confronted with an aversion to who they are.

Click here for the full article. 


Pets, Playmates, Pedagogues

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel The Offing.

By Fran Ross

Oreo, Fran Ross’s ground-breaking satire, was originally published in 1974. It is being re-issued this week by New Directions, with an introduction by Danzy Senna and a foreword by Harryette Mullen. Mat Johnson of NPR called it “one of the funniest books I have ever read” and writer Paul Beatty deemed it “hilarious.” We are honored to present an excerpt of this extraordinary novel.

— The Fiction Editors

Christine and Jimmie C.

From the Jewish side of the family Christine inherited kinky hair and dark, thin skin (she was about a 7 on the color scale and touchy). From the black side of her family she inherited sharp features, rhythm, and thin skin (she was touchy). Two years after this book ends, she would be the ideal beauty of legend and folklore — name the nationality, specify the ethnic group. Whatever your legends and folklore bring to mind for beauty of face and form, she would be it, honey. Christine was no ordinary child. She was born with a caul, which her first lusty cries rent in eight. Aside from her precocity at mirror writing, she had her mother’s love of words, their nuance and cadence, their juice and pith, their variety and precision, their rock and wry. When told at an early age that she would one day have to seek out her father to learn the secret of her birth, she said, “I am going to find that motherfucker.” In her view, the last word was merely le mot juste.

Click here for the full excerpt. 


Beneath the “Patriarchy-Animality-Metaphysics” Complex

This piece was originally published by LARB Channel Philosoplant

Essay and photograph by Michael Marder

Philosophy flourished in Ancient Greece on the basis of the question of nature, construed in vegetal terms. The Greek word for nature was phusis, alluding to growth and, in particular, to the germination and blossoming forth of plants. Nonetheless, the version of classical metaphysics that became predominant in the West was transfixed by the animal world. In fact, provoking the laughter of Diogenes, Plato characterized the human as a featherless bipedal animal and presented an indelible image of the soul as a charioteer who tries to steer a carriage drawn by two horses. Aristotle, in turn, defined the human as a “rational animal.”

The metaphysical privileging of the animal, hierarchically standing above vegetal life, has situated this mode of thinking in opposition to phusis-nature, closely linked to the world of plants. Paradoxically, the most ethereal, spiritual dimension of metaphysical thought unfolds contra natura, against nature, which is to say, against plants. We emphasize the paradoxality of this move particularly in relation to Aristotle’s philosophy, where the demand is to think each being according to what it is, in keeping with its nature, kata phusin. But what does “according to nature” mean, when the word is divested of its vegetal connotations? Perhaps, one can say that metaphysics thinks nature itself against nature and that, it is consistently with this de-vegetalized “counter-nature nature,” that singular beings and being as a whole are grasped.

Click here to read more. 

The LARB Questionnaire Interviews Avidly

This week, LARB’s channel Avidly celebrates its third birthday.  In honor of the occasion, Avidly editors Sarah Blackwood and Sarah Mesle sat down to respond to the LARB questionnaire.


How do you get up in the morning?

We get up twice, once on EST then on PST. Children screaming us out of bed on both coasts.

Do you succumb to nostalgia?


Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?

We cut the first paragraph. Always.

How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?

We feel you should start one. Continue reading


Letter From The Offing

Hello, Friends of LARB,

I’m writing you from Minneapolis, where I am attending the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ annual conference. I’ve had the chance to hear some amazing new work from some of The Offing‘s contributing editors and staff, including: Rachel McKibbensTarfia FaizullahLadan Osman, and Danez Smith, to name a few. And I’ve been able to attend some illuminating panels spearheaded by the likes of Dawn LonsingerEduardo C. CorralChris AbaniClaudia RankineDiane Seuss, and Jane WongContinue reading


Muammer’s Last Day

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel The Offing.

By Maruan Paschen

Translated by Amanda DeMarco

Muammer’s last day is my first day. I stand, eyes on the floor, in a classroom full of Arabs. Ms. Whyy from the Schiller Institute introduces me and immediately cracks a joke. Then another.

The new teacher has a really hard German name, she says, it’s hard to remember it: Said Maruan, she says and laughs, really loud.

Besides her, I’m laughing too, but not so loud.

I rub a piece of chalk between my fingers until it’s gone. A student in the last row understands the joke and grins retroactively. Ms. Whyy from the German Schiller Institute says her goodbyes and wishes me luck — don’t worry, the Arabs are a polite little tribe. Then she wishes the Arabs luck with me, but they don’t understand the joke, and neither do I. Continue reading


Days and Nights of Candlewood

This piece was originally published by LARB Channel The Offing.

By Paul Lisicky

I knew that it was going to be temporary: You could live almost anywhere if it was going to be temporary, especially if there was a gleam on the other side. I said no to the places that were too roomy, too ugly, too severe. I believed that by moving my chairs and bed into two white rooms I’d be inoculating myself against personality. It turns out it is impossible to escape personality, even when the floors beneath you are cold enough to numb your feet. In the apartment above me the man sang the songs of his youth — Cinnamon Girl, Landslide — accompanying himself on a badly amped guitar. His boot steps, his throat clearing, the taps of his razor against the bathroom sink — the essence of him resounded into my space as if there was nothing between us. Occasionally, when he was talking on the phone, he used the word faggot in a tone that implied he’d never had any truck with one. Outside, on the parking lot, a mother used the word fuck against her two boys. Two cars away, a young woman drove the approximately 200 feet to the dumpster, tossed in a dark garbage bag, and drove back to her parking space. This happened twice a day. As for the BDSM enthusiast whose bedroom window looked right into mine? Although he referred to himself online as a top, his eyes showed betrayal every time I backed out of his invitations to dinner. I pictured my wrists in restraints and tried to be excited by the opera of it, but it only felt redundant. That didn’t mean I wasn’t obsessed with the possibility of hurting his feelings. Continue reading


A Q&A with The Offing

The Los Angeles Review of Books is happy to announce a new channel, The Offing, an online literary magazine publishing work in all genres. The project launched last week at

The Offing will publish risk-taking work by new, emerging, and established writers and artists — with an explicit commitment to publishing diverse voices. To learn more about the magazine, its origins and its goals, we asked the editors a few questions.

The following is a brief Q&A with The Offing editor-in-chief (and LARB Fiction editor) Darcy Cosper and the magazine’s executive editors, Airea D. Matthews and Michael D. Snediker. Continue reading

blog broad city

Making Their Way in The World Today

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

By Sarah Blackwood

“City’s hard,” my three-year-old son occasionally remarks. He offers those words as mere description, though, no real judgment. (I mean, he’s three; lack of judgment is the best and worst thing about him). He’s no stranger to the strains of urban life. He helpfully reassures my husband and I as we lug ninety pounds of children plus stroller up and down the urine-soaked stairs of the subway station. “We’re okay!” he chirps in encouragement from his seat, and we grimly move forward.

Last week’s cold open of Broad City found the unlikely protagonists running for the train, high-fiving when they snake between the closing doors, and then turning to confront the hell of other people on the train along with them. The bit that follows is a riff on the dystopian film Snowpiercer, in which humans have taken refuge from a dead world by boarding a never-stopping train that simply becomes yet another vehicle for brutal class warfare. But where the protagonists of Snowpiercer move forward through the train cars aiming to assassinate the single guy (heh) in charge (heh) of stoking and maintaining class warfare, Abbi and Ilana move in another direction. Continue reading

inherent vice

The One That Got Away: On Inherent Vice

Today’s post was originally published by LARB Channel Avidly

By Evan Kindley

“Doc stroked his chin and gazed off into space for a while. ‘You know how some people say they have a ‘gut feeling’? Well, Shasta Fay, what I have is dick feelings, and my dick feeling sez—’” — Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice (2009)

“It is said that analyzing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article.” — Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975)


The new movie by Paul Thomas Anderson is out, in most major U.S. cities anyway. It’s an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice, and you should see it, unless you hate all of Anderson’s movies (some people do) or Pynchon’s books (ditto), because in various ways it represents tendencies that have long been latent in each of their work, and in American literature, film, and culture more generally. I’ve seen the film twice, and found it intensely pleasurable, but I will try to show how the nature of the pleasure it offers might not be available to everyone, and how that might be a problem. Even on its own terms, it’s not a perfect movie — it might be the most flawed film Anderson has made, though I’d give the edge to Punch Drunk Love — but, like all of his movies, it is touched with enough greatness to justify the price of admission and bear careful scrutiny. Scrutiny (and spoilers) follow. Continue reading