What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live if we're not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people?
When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-30s, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Fascinated by the experience, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives - 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 deeply moving, The Lonely City is about the spaces between people and the things that draw them together, about sexuality, mortality and the magical possibilities of art. It's 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.
"A triumphant book.... Laing is a brave writer, whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art." (Telegraph)
"[Laing's] description of her acute loneliness feels unusually brave.... Sublime." (The Times)
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Not what I expected.
- Pansy Girl