Laing’s composite portrait of the artist as a solitary figure explores with extraordinary detail and compassion just how painful loneliness is. Focusing on Henry Darger, Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, and David Wojnarowicz, with profiles of Basquiat, Billie Holliday, and others, Laing traces early experiences of alienation to a lifelong sense of vulnerability and shame. Showing how rejection leads to further rejection, she puts the artists’ isolation in the context of the early panic about AIDS, when even health-care providers feared contact with the stricken. Laing’s writing is sharp, sensitive, and angry; the stories are heartbreaking, including her own, as she tries to suppress loneliness by scrolling for days through Craigslist personals.
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone - Olivia Laing
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Published: Picador - March 1st, 2016
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Published: Picador - June 6th, 2017