LARB Radio Hour: Elif Batuman "The Idiot"; Donika Kelly "Bestiary"; Honoring Robert Silvers

April 7, 2017

Author Elif Batuman joins Kate and Medaya to discuss her new semi-autobiographical novel, The Idiot, about a Turkish-American freshman at Harvard. Elif explains the book’s unique genesis: she wrote it shortly after graduating, found it in a drawer many years later, and reworked it into its current form. Many Elifs contributed to this book — the Harvard freshman, the postgraduate author, the recent literary archaeologist, and the nonfiction author whose celebrated book The Possessed covers a similar time period as a work of “objective journalism.” And, yes, Kate, Medaya, and Elif share their love for Dostoyevsky! Also, Melissa Febos, author of Abandon Me, returns to recommend a book of poetry, Donika Kelly's Bestiary. And we end by honoring Robert Silvers, legendary founder and editor of the New York Review of Books, who died at 87 in March. LARB contributor Jon Wiener spoke to Silvers in 2013.