The Lonely City by Olivia Lang

This is a book about… loneliness :) Who would have thought? The book has a poignant but beautiful style of writing, which sends shivers down your spine or blissful joy at moments notice.

It is a bit unclear if the author is trying to emulate the loneliness of others to better understand it, or if it’s a natural consequence of the latter. She is going over famous painters, artists or art in broader way to see how loneliness oozes into art.

The Nighthawks painting by Hopper is presented as a perfect example of the powerful language the artist can create to show what aloneness can mean in the city, where you’re always rubbing shoulders with strangers.

Next, she’s looking at Andy Warhol’s art as a means to express similar feelings in a somewhat different medium. David Wojnarowicz is next on the shortlist, this paragraph struck me rather unexpected:

‘In my home’, he wrote in his memoir Close to knives, ‘one could not laugh, one could not express boredom, one could not cry, one could not play, one could not engage in any activity that showed development or growth that was independent’

Fear contaminates everything. He remembered playing chicken with the trucks that came over the hill by his house […]