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Download The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone Audiobook, by Olivia Laing Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Olivia Laing Narrator: Susan Lyons Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2016 ISBN: 9781504738873
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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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Quotes & Awards

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


  • “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

  • A BookPage Top Pick for March 2016
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2016 Gordon Burn Prize Shortlist Selection 
  • A 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year Selection for Nonfiction
  • An Elle Magazine Pick of the Best Books of 2016 (So Far)
  • A 2016 GoodReads Readers’ Choice Best Nonfiction Award Nominee
  • An NPR Best Book of 2016
  • A Newsweek Best Book of 2016
  • A Marie Claire Magazine Pick for 2016's Best Books
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About the Author

Olivia Laing’s first book, To the River, was published to wide acclaim and short-listed 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.

About the Narrator

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.