An Urban Sort of Loneliness


The Lonely City bristles with heart-piercing wisdom. Loneliness, according to Laing, feels “like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast.” Later, she admits that at one point during her own hermetic existence in New York, “I felt like I was in danger of vanishing.” Thankfully The Lonely City goes far beyond a cry for connection in an overcrowded, overstimulated world. It’s a ghostly blueprint of urban loneliness—an emotion that Laing calls “a city in itself”—that reminds us how loneliness can sometimes bring us together.

Over at NPR, Jason Heller reviews Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City, an exploration of loneliness based on her own and others’ experiences in New York City. (For more, you can read The Rumpus’s review of The Lonely City right here.)

Stephanie Bento is a writer, classical cellist, and photographer living in Washington, DC. In her writing, she is interested in exploring the musicality of sound and form, and our connection to time and place. Find out more about her creative work at, or say hello/bonjour on Twitter @saudadebelle. More from this author →