Everybody: A Book About Freedom (Paperback)
  • Everybody: A Book About Freedom (Paperback)

Everybody: A Book About Freedom (Paperback)

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Paperback 368 Pages
Published: 26/05/2022
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Waterstones Says

Through the work of iconic figures such as Sigmund Freud, Andrea Dworkin and Malcolm X, the author of The Lonely City and Funny Weather delivers both an exultant celebration and trenchant critique of bodily freedom and the body’s connection to human rights.

At a moment in which basic rights are once again in danger, 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 travelling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century, among them Nina Simone, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag and Malcolm X. Everybody is a crucial examination of the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509857128
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 241 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 24 mm


An ambitious, absorbing achievement that will make your brain hum - Evening Standard

Astonishing . . . I love this book - Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias

Laing’s gift for weaving big ideas together with lyrical prose sets her alongside the likes of Arundhati Roy, John Berger and James Baldwin. In other words, she is among the most significant voices of our time - Financial Times

Intensely moving, vital and artful - Josh Cohen, Guardian

Radically subversive - The Times Literary Supplement

Laing has written a piercing book. That she has no final answer to the problem of freedom does not detract from her achievement. Indeed, she encourages us all to ask new questions to discover how it feels, and what it means, to be free. - Aziz Huq, Washington Post

Laing is a truly thrilling thinker, with an impressively roving intellectual eye - Telegraph

Andrea Dworkin, Sontag, Malcolm X, Freud – they speak to us and come alive again, but we aren’t asked to decide if they are good or bad; we can listen to their thoughts and ideas. It’s a revelation in an age when we seem endlessly to judge and condemn our artists and thinkers - Chantal Joffe, Guardian

Even as she glides between subjects and themes, Laing remains anchored by the bond between the body and personhood. In a standout chapter, she claims that the harm of violence is not the work it does to transform subjects into objects, but the incompletion of that work: the soul becomes a “ruin with a human face” - New Yorker

Bristles with energy and understanding as it charts the body’s pleasures and pains, its fragilities, and endurance in the long 20th century . . . This really is a book for everybody - Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad

A dizzying ride . . . both timely and beguiling - The Sunday Times

A quintessential book for the precarious moment we’ve found ourselves in - Washington Post

Olivia Laing writes so well and engagingly - Philippa Perry, author of How to Stay Sane

Olivia Laing’s mind is a thrill to watch - Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body

Through [Laing’s] incisive lens, the body—that knot of mind, matter, culture, and society that we dwell inescapably within—becomes almost impossibly fascinating - Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

A new book by Olivia Laing is always cause for celebration and Everybody: A Book About Freedom is no exception - Frieze

A provocative inquiry into the body’s power and vulnerability . . . casting fresh light on the unending struggles for freedom and autonomy - Jenn Shapland, author of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

Brainy, open-hearted and bold - Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse and Let the Record Show

Laing is radically empathetic, a writer-activist - Vulture

A free-wheeling and joyful exploration - Jack Halberstam, author of Gaga Feminism

At a time in which all of our bodies have made us so strangely isolated and dangerous to each other, Everybody is especially resonant; and shows us just how important it is to explore our sexual identity in order to know who we really are - Julia Blackburn, author of Time Songs

Impassioned and provocative . . . This lucid foray into some of life’s deepest questions astonishes - Publishers Weekly, starred review

Intellectually vigorous and emotionally stirring - Kirkus, Starred Review

Everybody possesses a looseness, richness, and abundance of originality . . . One does not expect a political study to perform such sharp close readings of art and literature, or to describe emotions so elegantly. Line by line and thought by thought, Laing writes with surgical discipline - New Yorker

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Katy Wheatley

“A Memoir and Exploration of Bodily Freedom”

I read this in the same week as Travis Alabanza's None of the Above and I found that the books complement each other perfectly. I would recommend reading them in close proximity to enrich your enjoyment of both... More

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