"One of the finest writers of the new nonfiction" (Harper’s Bazaar) explores the role of art in our tumultuous modern era.
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 their role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, reads Maggie Nelson and Sally Rooney, 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 that art can’t change anything. Laing argues that it can. Art changes how we see the world. It makes plain inequalities and it offers fertile new ways of living.
About the Author
Olivia Laing is a widely acclaimed writer and critic. She writes for the Guardian, the New York Times, and Frieze, among many other publications. Her first novel, Crudo, was a New York Times Notable Book and won the 2019 James Tait Black Prize for Fiction. Her nonfiction works include To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring, and The Lonely City, which has sold more than 100,000 copies and been translated into sixteen languages. The recipient of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize in nonfiction, Laing lives in London, England.
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, author of Afternoon of a Faun
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, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse
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 twenty-first century literature: brilliantly expressed, wildly uncontained, willful, and wonderfully unbound. — Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR