The Trial of the Gang of Four — As History and Current Events

By Liz Carter

Forced confessions, show trials, and crises of legitimacy. These are topics covered in Alexander C. Cook’s important book, The Cultural Revolution on Trial: Mao and the Gang of Four, which Cambridge University Press published in November. They are also issues China has been facing recently, as Xi Jinping has sought to consolidate power and bolster faith in the Communist Party. Cook’s primary purpose is not, however, to offer a cautionary tale about history repeating itself, but to put forward a novel framework for understanding historical trauma, its roots, and its repercussions. Continue reading

How LitFest Pasadena Got Rolling

By Jervey Tervalon, Literary Director of LitFest Pasadena

LitFest Pasadena came into being because I used to go to the Squaw Valley Writers Conference when it was fun by the late Oakley Hall, my former professor in UC Irvine’s MFA program. As a writer it was what I looked forward to more than almost anything else in my literary life. Oakley started Squaw Valley Writers Conference, I was told, because he wanted to see his writer friends and this was a good way of doing it. That sense of community was genuine and cathartic. Continue reading

Tom Lutz Discusses the Future of Publishing in the Premiere Issue of LALA Magazine


In the premiere issue of the magazine LALA, available on stands today, our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Lutz, weighs in on the future of publishing in our city and beyond: “Publishing is in the process of decentralizing, like every other culture industry in the digital age, and a lot of new micro-publishers and medium-size publishers have sprung up in Los Angeles. LARB has started a summer publishing workshop with the express Intent to further build the infrastructure for publishing on the West Coast, insuring that more publishing will be happening in L.A. 20 years from now.” For this and more, pick up an issue. Continue reading

The Problem with Invoking Down Syndrome in Support of the American Health Care Act

By George Estreich

From the moment the American Health Care Act won passage in the House of Representatives, a child with Down syndrome was going to be marshaled in its favor: supporters of the bill needed a sentimental distraction from the AHCA’s likely impact on people with disabilities.

What I didn’t expect was that the first example would come from a parent who voted for the bill. Continue reading

Meeting Her Parents, Meeting Her Country: an American’s First Taste of Korea

By Stefano Young

Stefano Young didn’t know the difference between Korea, China, and Japan until he was 23 — but then he met a Korean woman, learned to say “사랑해요,” and has studied Korean language and culture ever since. In an occasional series starting this week, the Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog will present his essays on his ever-deepening experiences with Korean life, culture, and family. Continue reading