The Lonely City

  • by Olivia Laing
  • Narrated by Susan Lyons
  • 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An expertly crafted work of reportage, memoir, and biography on the subject of loneliness told through the lives of six iconic artists, by the acclaimed author of The Trip to Echo Spring. 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 traveling 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thorough interesting research, average story

I enjoyed the accounts of the artists in this book, and I found myself looking them and their art up throughout the book out of curiosity. Which that's what this book did - perked my curiosity. I liked the art history lesson, which you can tell Olivia Laing has done some very thorough research and I thought her own personal story and how it intertwined with the artists was cool. But at times the narration got old and dry, and I wasn't dying to listen to it everyday. Written beautifully, but not always profound.
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- Lis

Unexpected and somewhat graphic

The Lonely City was an unexpected and not totally welcomed expose of the lives of several famous artists and writers who predominately lived in New York City from the 1960s-1980s. The stories are told by the author who
researches the darker sides of these people in her attempt to understand her own loneliness. The narrative is extremely intimate and graphic at times. An interesting side story that weaves around these lives is a look at the ways technology impacts humans. Unfortunately, this is somewhat depressing as well, but a brutal look at the secondary impacts that result from the variety of devices that are touted as great aides to humans. The various themes of social isolation, prejudices, depression, and of course loneliness make this book difficult to finish. However, it is worth the task for those who are willing to suffer a bit and learn more about the things that are not discussed by most people.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2016
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.