This bundle includes three wonderful books about being alone in New York.
Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City is a memoir of her time living in New York in her mid-thirties when she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between the works and lives of some of the city’s most compelling artists, Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed.
Sylvia by Leonard Michaels is a remarkable semi-autobiographical novel. We are drawn into the world of a beatnik couple living in Manhattan in the early 1960s, and their demi-monde of jazz, poetry, late nights and early mornings. But when Sylvia’s depression emerges and her disturbances take hold, their fights become increasingly violent and their relationship hurtles towards self-destruction.
Joe Gould’s Secret by Joseph Mitchell is a biography of sorts of a Harvard-educated vagrant living in Greenwich Village. Penniless, filthy, scurrilous, charming, thieving, Joe Gould was widely considered a genius. He was working on a book he called an Oral History – the longest book ever written he claimed, formed of recorded conversations set down in exercise books.