Sam Fragoso is a writer, director and podcast host based in Los Angeles. His interviews have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The Atlantic and NPR. In a past…
One year ago, The New Yorker staff writer and critic Hua Hsu published his singular memoir entitled Stay True. Earlier this May, the autobiography won a Pulitzer Prize.
Upon its paperback release, Hsu joins us to discuss the epigraph that frames the book (5:30) and his nomadic upbringing (9:45) scored by mixtapes (12:23) created by his Taiwanese father (15:14). Hsu then reflects on his arrival at UC Berkeley in the mid-90s (23:09) and how he formed an unexpected bond with a schoolmate named Ken (24:20).
On the back-half, Hsu describes the horrific night that Ken’s life was taken (36:58), the aftermath of this tragedy (40:15), his attempts to make sense of the past twenty-four years in Stay True (46:20), his complicated relationship to memory (49:00) and music (58:30), and how he’s held onto hope (1:03:02) through telling this enduring story of friendship.