The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing


This is probably one of the most poignant and important books I have read in quite some time. I crawled through it as I just didn’t want it to end; I sucked up every page, took in every word and constantly re-read paragraphs and digested them with care.

Part memoir, part essay, part history lesson; this is a book packed full of observations that will make you understand yourself and others around you. This is a love letter to loneliness, a place where you are surrounded by people, they push past you, they bombard you via social media yet you still feel isolated. She has taken this very sensitive subject and used art to understand urban isolation; she runs analysis on people like Andy Warhol and other eccentrics. This helps us to understand the relationship between the human psyche and art, what loneliness is and how it can be used artistically.

This book is fabulously written as she weaves her way between memoir and art history. We do not feel that we are simply picking up and reading a text book on the world of art, we are beside Olivia as she explores loneliness herself and the relationship within the art world. It is a comforting, familiar and a beautifully lyrical read.

Patchouli Tea

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