The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The narrator of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist may be unreliable as he tells his American experience before and after 9/11 with an unknown American dinner guest, but we wonder if he is any more unreliable than the voice inside all of us. We discuss the East/West conflict, the relationship between fundamentalism and nostalgia, the narrator’s reluctance and fundamentalism, the narrator’s love of America and Erica, as well as puzzle over the ending as we delve into this deep and short novel.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Reluctant Fundamentalist click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

The Underground Railroad

*Warning: Spoilers!*

In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

Get Out

Warning: *spoilers!*

Get Out follows a young African-American photographer on a visit to his white girlfriend’s parents’ home. The tag line sums up the deep horror of the film, “Just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’re welcome.” The film is funny, scary, and has sparked conversations (and even a viral challenge) throughout the country.

To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of Get Out click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

American Gods

The novel is a fascinating exploration of the meaning of ethnicity, modernism, memory, and community in which we are reminded of the many ethnicities that make up America, but also their amalgamation into a secular American society with few gods. As multiple characters remind us, America is a hard place to be a god. This is a quintessential American novel from a quintessential British storyteller – it’s a sprawling road trip into the vast highways and byways of the American landscape, it’s a horror novel, a mystery, a romance, a western, a fantasy, and ultimately a look into the heart of America.

This podcast features Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane

“The Bitter Game” explores the black experience in America

Jody Armour of the USC Gould School participated in a panel discussion following the performance of the one-man play, “The Bitter Game,” which explores the black experience in America, at the Skirball Cultural Center, held January 27-28, 2017. More information about the play and the writer (Keith A. Wallace) here.