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Olivia Laing Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Crudo (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Abandoned Person's Tale (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

To The River (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Trip to Echo Spring (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lonely City (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Funny Weather (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Oliver Laing is a British cultural critic, novelist, and writer best known for the novel “Crudo” that she published in 2018. Before she became a fiction author she had written several non-fiction works that included “The Lonely City,” “The Trip to Echo Spring,” and “To the River.” In 2018, she was the winner of the Literature nonfiction prize by Windham-Campbell. Her debut fiction work “Crudo was the winner of the 100th James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2019. Olivia was brought up in St. Peter, Buckinghamshire in Chalfont and went to Sussex University to study English. However, she did not finish as she became involved in social protests and started living wild in the Sussex countryside. Between 2007 and 2009, she worked at The Observer as a Deputy Books Editor. She was also a culture and art critic for several publications including New Statesman, Frieze, and The Guardian. Olivia has also written catalog essays for a variety of modern artists such as Andy Warhol, Derek Jarman, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Chantal Joffe.

Olivia Laing’s first novel was “To the River” which was a genre-crossing nonfiction book that was part history, part memoir, part nature writing, and part Virginia Woolf biography. “The Trip to Echo Spring” her second novel was an exploration of the muddy meeting point of alcoholism and creativity. “Lonely City” her third explored the relationship between four artists who have to deal with urban loneliness and positioned the author as the poster child for loneliness. The novel “Crudo” which was her first work of fiction made the shortlist for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize. In the novel, she tells her story by combining two perspectives; one is that of Kathy Acker the experimental author while another is partially her own life. For instance, it tells of Laing getting married but is also a picture of Kathy getting married too. It also takes in the experience of Kathy’s marriage combined with the happenings of the summer of 2017 such as the dismissal of James Comey, the refugee crisis, the Charlottesville rally, and Donald Trump’s tweets among many others. Her collection of essays “Funny Weather” was published in 2020.

When Olivia Laing published “The Lonely City,” in 2016 it became a critically acclaimed work of contemporary nonfiction that set her on a path to becoming one of the most known British authors. It was during this time that broke up with her boyfriend and moved to New York from London where she became afraid of ending up a lonely old woman. Laing used the loneliness to try to understand the work of the likes of Josh Harris the pioneer of reality media, Zoe Leonard, Henry Darger, and David Wojnarowicz. It became a channel that she could use to get a better understanding of the world. After the publication of the award-winning novel, she thought she would publish another nonfiction work when the idea for Crudo came to mind. Olivia was reading Kathy Acker and this triggered in her a need to write something similar. Within seven weeks, she had the manuscript for her debut work of fiction. The novel is written in a picaresque, racy and bracing style in which she uses the third person character perspective. The result is a combination of the taste for transgression and emotional realism of Kathy Acker and Olivia’s experience in twenty-first-century Italy. Her experiences include plans for her wedding, checking updates on Twitter and vacations in Italy. Alternating between Laing’s life and the personal of Kathy Acker it is a compelling read. Olivia writes in real-time about the Grenfell Tower, Trump’s tweets, Brexit, Ivanka and Jared and the flooding of Houston among many other events.

“Crudo” by Olivia Laing is a story about an author named Kathy. It is set in the summer of 2017 where our protagonist believes her whole life is coming apart even though she is about to get married. Frantic and fast-paced, the novel happens in real-time and we get a full-throttle look into the thinking of commitment-phobic artist who the story suggests may be the realist author Kathy Acker. From a posh hotel in Tuscan to the United Kingdom where a recent referendum has left Britain paralyzed over Brexit, the lead spends much of the summer when she turned forty adjusting to the idea of a committed relationship. But it is not Kathy alone who is changing as the planet is heating up, truth is dying, fascism is gaining currency and Trump is making harebrained tweets that could lead to nuclear war. How is it possible for one to plan for the future when one tweet from the president could result in Armageddon? Olivia writes a novel with a compassionate and fierce account of how one can love even when it seems that there is no point given that the world is ending. It is a funny and brilliant novel of love in a world on the edge of a precipice.

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