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Everybody: A Book About Freedom - Olivia Laing

Everybody: A Book About Freedom - Olivia Laing

Picador UK

Regular price €14,95 EUR
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Our take

In 'Everybody: a Book About Freedom', Olivia Laing explores the life of a controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (a protege of Freud), to shine a light on how our freedom is defined or limited by our bodies. In this rich and multilayered book, Laing draws links with other intellectuals and artists - such as Marquis de Sade or Nina Simone - and explores their fights for freedom and a more inclusive world. A world where no human body is 'criminalized by the state' or 'designated criminal in its own right'. While offering a clear-eyed and realistic exploration of how our bodily freedom defines our liberty, this book is also hopeful about our future. As Laing writes towards the end, "It is possible to remake the world. What you cannot do is assume that any change is permanent. Everything can be undone, and every victory must be refought."

Publisher's description

The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. In her ambitious, brilliant sixth book, Olivia Laing charts an electrifying course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement.

Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and travelling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century—among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, and Malcolm X.

Despite its many burdens, the body remains a source of power, even in an era as technologized and automated as our own. Arriving at a moment in which basic bodily rights are once again imperilled, Everybody is an investigation into the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world.

Praise and awards

A quintessential book for the precarious moment we’ve found ourselves in... [M]ultilayered and masterfully structured... Everybody should be required reading for anyone who cares about not just where we are now, but the future.

— Michele Filgate - Washington Post

Revelatory... Dreaming beyond conventional wisdom and restrictive visions, Laing emboldens us to seek liberation across difference in the face of turmoil. Everybody is a galvanizing book during a time of incredible hesitation.

— Lauren LeBlanc - Boston Globe

A fleet, gracious tour of bodily distress and joy... Laing writes in great looping sentences, both precise and evocative.
— Annalisa Quinn - NPR

Daring and complicated... The method of Everybody [is] framed as an extended conversation between the author and her sources, in which De Sade blurs into Reich, who blurs into Sontag, and back again. The key to all this movement is that it also invites us to participate in the conversation

— David L. Ulin - Los Angeles Times

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