The Lonely City Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/1/2016
  • Publisher: Picador

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

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? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, 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.

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.

Author Biography

OLIVIA LAING is a writer and critic. Her first book, To the River, was published by Canongate in the U.K. to wide acclaim and shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year. She has been the deputy books editor of the Observer, and writes for the Guardian, New Statesman, and Granta, among other publications. She is a MacDowell and Yaddo Fellow, and the 2014 Writer in Residence at the British Library. Her latest critically acclaimed book, The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, is also published by Picador.

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