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It’s been 17 years since André Leon Talley, the former Vogue editor at large, published his first memoir, “A.L.T.” On this week’s podcast, Talley talks about “The Chiffon Trenches,” his new book about his time in the highest reaches of the fashion world.

“The first book was clearly a memoir about my grandmother and Diana Vreeland. Both these ladies were very important in my life,” Talley says. “I did cover some of the things of my upbringing, my background, but I did not go into the depths of what I have gone into in ‘The Chiffon Trenches.’ In ‘The Chiffon Trenches,’ it is my epistle of love to the important narrative of my life, beginning from my humble upbringing in North Carolina, all the way to 2020. I go through the decades of when I was at the top of my career at Vogue, and sitting in the front row in Paris, experiencing racism, sexism, ageism, all of that. I decided I had to be very, very raw and honest.”

The Book Review recently asked the prominent American poets Claudia Rankine and Jericho Brown to write original poems responding to this historic moment in our country. On this week’s episode, Rankine reads “Weather,” and Brown reads “Say Thank You Say I’m Sorry.”

Megha Majumdar also visits the podcast to talk about her highly acclaimed debut novel, “A Burning.” The book, set in contemporary India, captures the state of longstanding issues of oppression there in the face of ascendant right-wing politics. Majumdar talks about how the book’s central characters correspond to “three particular questions” that interest her. “One was: How does somebody who gets a little taste of political power — in a country where most people feel that the government and the country’s systems do not serve them — how does such a person respond to that proximity to power? What are they willing to do in order to gain even more power?”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to

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