No Judgment: Essays
A 2024 MOST ANTICIPATED READ — The Millions, BookPage, LitHub, and more
From the national bestselling novelist and essayist, a groundbreaking collection of brand-new pieces about the role of cultural criticism in our ever-changing world.
In her writing for Harper’s, the London Review of Books, The New Yorker, and elsewhere, Lauren Oyler has emerged as one of the most trenchant and influential critics of her generation, a talent whose judgments on works of literature—whether celebratory or scarily harsh—have become notorious. But what is the significance of being a critic and consumer of media in today’s fraught environment? How do we understand ourselves, and each other, as space between the individual and the world seems to get smaller and smaller, and our opinions on books and movies seem to represent something essential about our souls? And to put it bluntly, why should you care what she—or anyone—thinks?
In this, her first collection of essays, Oyler writes with about topics like the role of gossip in our exponentially communicative society, the rise and proliferation of autofiction, why we’re all so “vulnerable” these days, and her own anxiety. In her singular prose—sharp yet addictive, expansive yet personal—she encapsulates the world we live and think in with precision and care, delivering a work of cultural criticism as only she can.
Bringing to mind the works of such iconic writers as Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, and Terry Castle, No Judgment is a testament to Lauren Oyler’s inimitable wit and her quest to understand how we shape the world through culture. It is a sparkling nonfiction debut from one of today’s most inventive thinkers.
Praise for No Judgment: Essays
"Brisk, honest and soaring with élan. Oyler persuasively advocates clear thinking through doing it herself with such poise. Her critical approach isn't currently common sense, but it should be, and soon enough maybe it will." — Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times and The Happy Couple
"Like stumbling into the best archival New Yorker essays—smart and unafraid and (thank God) funny. This is exactly what I want to read." — Monica Heisey, author of Really Good, Actually
"Absorbing and funny . . . [Oyler] has plenty of interesting things to say about autofiction, spoilers, and life as an expatriate. . . . A challenging and often eye-opening nonfiction debut." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Oyler’s commentary is incisive, and her prose is lucid and playful. . . . This is as intellectually stimulating as it is fun to read." — Publishers Weekly
"Oyler is one of our sharpest and most fearless cultural critics....Opining on gossip and anxiety, autofiction and vulnerability, and much, much more, [her] caustic wit and penetrating voice shine through every essay." — Sophia Stewart, The Millions
"[Oyler's] takes would be dizzying if she were not so skilled in constructing solid arguments that deepen our understanding of cultural criticism. No Judgment is deeply funny and wise." — BookPage
"These peppery inquiries are rigorously informed, deftly composed, and deeply conceptualized interpretations of human foibles and endeavors in a world feverish with social media and hooked to the 'attention economy' . . . Oyler is frank, fierce, funny, and brilliant; her brainy, passionate criticism exhilarating." — Booklist (starred review)