Everybody: A Book about Freedom

Author(s) : Olivia Laing

Everybody: A Book about Freedom

Book Details

  • Publisher : Picador
  • Published : June 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 351
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 96578
  • ISBN 13 : 9781509857128
  • ISBN 10 : 9781509857
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The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. In her ambitious, brilliant sixth book, Olivia Laing charts an electrifying course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement.

Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and traveling 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, 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. Arriving at a moment in which basic bodily rights are once again imperiled, Everybody is an investigation into the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.

Reviews and Endorsements

Intensely moving, vital and artful - Josh Cohen - The Guardian

Radically subversive - The Times Literary Supplement

[Everybody] brims with empathy . . . 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 - queries that are as vital as they are resistant to any single answer. - Aziz Huq - The Washington Post

Laing is a truly thrilling thinker, with an impressively roving intellectual eye. - The 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 - The 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". - The 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

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

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