Funny Weather
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Funny Weather : Art in an Emergency

3.92 (128 ratings by Goodreads)
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'The book to help you make sense of the world' Stylist

'A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art' Telegraph

In this remarkable, inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed writer and critic Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the twenty-first century.

Funny Weather brings together a career's worth of Laing's writing about art and culture, examining its role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O'Keefe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening political time.

We're often told art can't change anything. Laing argues that it can. It changes how we see the world. It makes plain inequalities and it offers fertile new ways of living.

'A warm, thinking, enticing sweep of a book, like spending the afternoon with your brainiest friend.' - Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 143 x 224 x 33mm | 610g
  • PICADOR
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed.
  • 1529027640
  • 9781529027648
  • 1,170

Review Text

A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art. Telegraph
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Review quote

Olivia Laing shines the light for art writing. Funny Weather urges us to humanise art, and listen to what artists say about life, love and crisis. -- Charlie Porter I yield to absolutely no one in my admiration of Olivia Laing; her essays are magical liberations of words and ideas, art and love; they're the essence of great 21st century literature: brilliantly expressed, wildly uncontained, wilful and wonderfully unbound. -- Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR 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. This is a fascinating, excursive, tonic of a book. -- Sinead Gleeson, author of Constellations A light-footed tour of enriching stories, lives, and ideas. * Dazed and Confused * A warm, thinking, enticing sweep of a book, like spending the afternoon with your brainiest friend. -- Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers The book to help you make sense of the world . . . [a] mesmerizing collection of essays . . . this unique and compassionate book is a mind-expanding opportunity to rethink how we live, and what we can do to change things for the better. * Stylist * A fine writer's embrace of the artists who preceded her, friendly visits with their lives and loving acknowledgement of their foundational contributions. A work of joy in recognition. -- Sarah Schulman 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 Olivia Laing is my new favourite non-fiction writer. * Nick Hornby * Her gift as a critic is her ability to imaginatively sympathize with her subjects in a way that allows the art and life of the artist to go on radiating meaning after the book is closed * Elle * A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art * Telegraph *
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About Olivia Laing

Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of non-fiction. To the River was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year. The Trip to Echo Spring was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize. The Lonely City won the Eccles British Library Writer's Award, was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and has been translated into fifteen languages. Her first novel, Crudo, was published in 2018 to great critical acclaim. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize. In 2018 she was awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction.

Laing writes on art and culture for many publications, including the Guardian, New Statesman, New York Times and Frieze. She is working on Everybody, an ambitious cultural survey of embodiment in the modern age.
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Rating details

128 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 31% (40)
4 42% (54)
3 20% (25)
2 2% (2)
1 5% (7)
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