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The lonely city : adventures in the art of being alone

Laing, Olivia (author.).

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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Moorhead Public Library 700.19 LAI (Text) 33500012256301 Main Checked out 12/11/2019

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781250039590 (e-book)
  • ISBN: 1250039576 (hardback)
  • ISBN: 9781250039576 (hardback)
  • Physical Description: 315 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
  • Edition: First U.S. Edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Picador, 2016.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Formatted Contents Note: The lonely city -- Walls of glass -- My heart opens to your voice -- In loving him -- The realms of the unreal -- At the beginning of the end of the world -- Render ghosts -- Strange fruit.
Summary, etc.: "You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavor to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by thousands of strangers. The Lonely City is a roving cultural history of urban loneliness, centered on the ultimate city: Manhattan, that teeming island of gneiss, concrete, and glass. What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we're not intimately involved with another human being? How do we connect with other people, particularly if our sexuality or physical body is considered deviant or damaged? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens? Olivia Laing explores these questions by travelling deep into the work and lives of some of the century's most original artists, among them Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Edward Hopper, Henry Darger and Klaus Nomi. Part memoir, part biography, part dazzling work of cultural criticism, The Lonely City is not just a map, but a celebration of the state of loneliness. It's a voyage out to a strange and sometimes lovely island, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but visited by many - millions, say - of souls"--

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2016 March #1
    *Starred Review* Writer and critic Laing searches for answers to the puzzles of her life in the experiences and creative endeavors of others. In The Trip to Echo Spring (2014), she explores the impact alcoholism has had on various American writers. In her newest imaginative and poignant quest, shaped by her gift for entwining memoir with incisive biographical inquiries and astute interpretations, she looks to visual art for illumination of the true nature of loneliness. Her "attempt to chart the complex relationship between loneliness and art," she explains, was catalyzed by a dark spell of alienation that seized her while she was living in wretched New York City sublets and bingeing on Internet videos and social media. Seeking an antidote, she immersed herself in Edward Hopper's life and paintings, responding most profoundly to his distinct perspective on urban life and the strange phenomenon of feeling hopelessly alone while surrounded by strangers. With loneliness as her lens, Laing discerns radical strategies of anxiety and consolation in Andy Warhol, from his persona as a living caricature to his worship of pop culture and reliance on the mediation of telephones, cameras, and tape recorders. As Laing chronicles the goings-on at Warhol's infamous Factory, she considers the paradox of both longing for acceptance and needing distance. The standoff between insiders and outsiders informs her sensitive telling of the tragic tale of Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Warhol. Laing brings the same sympathetic receptivity to her profile of the self-taught Chicago artist Henry Darger, detecting compassion for abused and misfit children in his famously disturbing, violent, otherworldly illustrated epic. The artist who resonates the most for Laing is David Wojnarowicz, who survived a brutal boyhood and battering life on the streets before he began addressing "issues of connection and aloneness" in bold and unsparing photographs, films, drawings, and writings, which he hoped would help "make somebody feel less alienated." Following Wojnarowicz's trail to the carnival of gay sex and rogue art on New York's abandoned piers in the 1970s and 1980s, Laing writes of her own transient years and wrestling with gender categories as a daughter raised by lesbians who felt that if she "was anything, it was a gay boy." Ultimately, Wojnaraowicz delivers Laing to the 1980s AIDS epidemic, a hellish engine for loneliness that turned him into a grieving activist and then took his life. Laing perceives that loneliness is not only a sense of isolation but also of brokenness, and that art can be an annealing force. And like the artists she profiles, she refuses to look away from pain or simplify trauma, or deny anyone respect or dignity. Through her ardent research, empathetic response, original thought, courageous candor, and exquisite language, Laing joins the ever-growing pool of writers—among them Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hope Jahren, Jhumpa Lahiri, Leslie Jamison, Helen Macdonald, Sally Mann, Patti Smith, Tracy K. Smith, Edmund de Waal, and Terry Tempest Williams—who are transforming memoir into a daring and dynamic literary form of discovery that laces the stories of individuals into the continuum of humanity and the larger web of life on Earth to provocative and transforming effect. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

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 critically acclaimed book, The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, is published by Picador.

Subject: Artists Psychology
City and town life Psychological aspects
ART / General
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Artists, Architects, Photographers
Artists Psychology
City and town life Psychological aspects
Search Results Showing Item 1 of 1 Preferred library: Lake Agassiz Regional Library?

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