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The Lonely City : Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
by Olivia Laing


Overview -

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism

#1 Book of the Year from Brain Pickings

Named a best book of the year by NPR, Newsweek, Slate, Pop Sugar , Marie Claire , Elle, Publishers Weekly , and Lit Hub

A dazzling work of biography, memoir, and cultural criticism on the subject of loneliness, told through the lives of iconic artists, by the acclaimed author of The Trip to Echo Spring Read more...


 
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More About The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
 
 
 
Overview

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism

#1 Book of the Year from Brain Pickings

Named a best book of the year by NPR, Newsweek, Slate, Pop Sugar, Marie Claire, Elle, Publishers Weekly, and Lit Hub

A dazzling work of biography, memoir, and cultural criticism on the subject of loneliness, told through the lives of iconic artists, by the acclaimed author of The Trip to Echo Spring.

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her midthirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by the most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to Andy Warhol's Time Capsules, from Henry Darger's hoarding to David Wojnarowicz's AIDS activism, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.

Humane, provocative, and moving, The Lonely City is a celebration of a strange and lovely state, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but intrinsic to the very act of being alive.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250118035
  • ISBN-10: 1250118034
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Artists, Architects, Photographers
Books > Art > History - Contemporary (1945- )

 
BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: Finding comfort in art

Selected as a best book of the year by NPR and Newsweek, Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone is a smart, compassionate work of nonfiction that probes the meaning of connection in the modern world. Laing moves to New York from England to be with her boyfriend. When their relationship ends, she’s left with feelings of displacement and defeat and finds solace in art. Over the course of the book, she considers the lives and creative practices of six masters whose works resonate with her solitary mindset, including Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol. Examining the links between everyday intimacy—or a lack thereof—and acts of creation, she writes with fluency and a sense of poeticism that suit her subject matter. Laing herself grew up in a troubled household with a mother who was secretly gay. She draws upon personal experiences, mixing memoir with art criticism and social history to produce a moving narrative that speaks to the current era.

LOVING AND LETTING GO
By turns humorous and heartbreaking, Steven Rowley’s debut novel, Lily and the Octopus, is a poignant portrayal of the enduring link between man and dog. Ted Flask is a struggling writer who lives in Los Angeles with Lily, a 12-year-old dachshund. Ted, who is single, has turned to the internet to meet other men. Lily is his constant companion, and in a narrative conceit that Rowley pulls off beautifully, the two are able to communicate (they play Monopoly and share pizza). When Lily is diagnosed with a brain tumor (the octopus of the book’s title), Ted is despondent. As Lily yields to her illness, he faces the fact that he will lose her. But he also comes to realize that he has hidden behind her in order to keep life—and other relationships—at a distance. Rowley, who lost his own dog, writes with tenderness and delicacy about the bond between canines and humans. Lily and the Octopus is a moving exploration of love and loss.

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
In the powerful novel ­Mischling, Affinity Konar tells the story of 12-year-old sisters Stasha and Pearl, prisoners at Auschwitz who are subjected to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s inhumane experiments on twins. Close companions before their arrival at the camp, the sisters are separated at Auschwitz and suffer hideous punishments. After the war, when the camp is liberated, Pearl is looked after by Miri, a Jewish physician who was made to work as Mengele’s aide. Stasha, meanwhile, journeys through ravaged postwar Poland with a fellow twin named Feliks, driven by a desire to find Mengele and get revenge. Narrated in turns by Stasha and Pearl, this gripping novel is a beautifully rendered yet devastating narrative of survival. Konar’s chronicle of the twins’ experiences draws on factual accounts from the war. This is a bleak yet mesmerizing book that is sure to inspire dialogue among readers.

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews