The Lonely City Lib/E: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Olivia Laing (Author) Susan Lyons (Read by)
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Product Details

Blackstone Publishing
Publish Date
June 21, 2016
6.5 X 1.2 X 6.1 inches | 0.6 pounds
Compact Disc

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About the Author

Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of nonfiction, To the River (2011), The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), and The Lonely City (2016), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and has been translated into seventeen languages. Her first novel, Crudo, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the 2019 James Tait Black Prize. She writes for the Guardian, New York Times, and frieze, among many other publications. Her collected writing on art, Funny Weather, was published in 2020. The recipient of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize in nonfiction, Laing lives in Suffolk, UK.

Susan Lyons has appeared on numerous television shows, including A Country Practice, Police Rescue, Something in the Air, and All Saints. Among her film credits are Winds of Jarrah and In a Savage Land. She is married to Tony Award-winning actor Jefferson Mays.


An impressive and beguiling combination of autobiography and biography, a balancing act that Laing effortlessly performs.

-- "Elle"

Every page of The Lonely City exudes a disarming, deep-down fondness for humanity.

-- "Wall Street Journal"

A beautiful meander of a book.

-- "New Yorker"

Laing...picks up the topic of painful urban isolation and sets it down in many smart and oddly consoling places. She makes the topic her own.

-- "New York Times"

Reminding us of how it feels to be lonely, this book gently affirms our connectedness.

-- "Boston Globe"

An uncommonly observant hybrid of memoir, history, and cultural criticism.

-- "San Francisco Chronicle"

Her book succeeds in offering its readers a redemptive experience comparable to the one she's describing...This triumphant book is in part an appeal for us to value the kind of loneliness that can be rendered, by the intimacy of art, both tolerable and shareable.

-- "Daily Telegraph (London)"

[An] acute, nervy and personal investigation into urban solitude...A group biography all in one, which takes a difficult, almost taboo, subject and deftly turns it over anew.

-- "New Statesman"

Laing joins the ever-growing pool of writers...who are transforming memoir into a daring and dynamic literary form of discovery.

-- "Booklist (starred review)"

Laing creates a 'map of loneliness, ' tracking its often-paradoxical contours in her own life as a transplant to New York City and traces how loneliness can inspire creativity...She invents new ways to consider how isolation plays into art or even the Internet (which turns her into an obsessed teenager, albeit one who calls the screen her 'cathected silver lover'). For once, loneliness becomes a place worth lingering.

-- "Publishers Weekly"

Absorbing melding of memoir, biography, art essay, and philosophical meditation...Illuminating, enriching.

-- "Kirkus Reviews"