‘Simply one of our most exciting writers’ – Observer
‘A free-wheeling and joyful exploration of the works and lives of a range of artists and thinkers who brought libidinal and creative energy together with spectacular results’ – Jack Halberstam
The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. At a moment in which basic rights are once again imperilled, Olivia Laing conducts an ambitious investigation into the body and its discontents, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to chart a daring course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, from gay rights and sexual liberation to feminism and the civil rights movement.
Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and travelling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, she grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century, among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag and Malcolm X.
Despite its many burdens, the body remains a source of power, even in an era as technologized and automated as our own. Everybody is an examination of the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.
‘A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art’ – Telegraph
Simply one of our most exciting writers * Observer * One of the finest writers of the new non-fiction * Harper's Bazaar * Like all great critics, Olivia Laing combines formidable intelligence with boundless curiosity and fabulous taste, but she also has a rare quality of intimacy; an ability to connect the reader to a work of art or literature (or for that matter a facet of life itself) with a directness that lights it up like nothing else. It's why I read her. -- James Lasdun, author of Afternoon of a Faun In the current climate, a writer of Olivia Laing's intelligence is more necessary than ever. Her observations and poetic incisiveness on art, writers and politics are a gift. -- Sinead Gleeson, author of Constellations I yield to absolutely no one in my admiration of Olivia Laing; her essays are magical liberations of words and ideas, art and love -- Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR Olivia Laing is my new favourite non-fiction writer. -- Nick Hornby A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art * Telegraph *
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