Funny Weather

Art in an Emergency

Olivia Laing author


Publisher:Pan Macmillan

Published:29th Apr '21


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Funny Weather cover

Olivia Laing, prize-winning, bestselling author of The Lonely City and Crudo, returns with a career-spanning collection of essays on the power of art in times of crisis.

'A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art' – Telegraph

In this inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed writer and critic Olivia Laing makes a vivid and politically-engaged case for the importance of art – especially in the turbulent weather of the twenty-first century.

We are often told art can’t change anything. In Funny Weather, Laing argues that it can. It changes how we see the world, it exposes inequality, and it offers fertile new ways of living.

Across a diverse selection of essays, Laing profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body.

Written with originality and compassion, Funny Weather is a celebration of art as a force of resistance and repair – and as an antidote to a frightening political moment.

A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art * Telegraph *
Olivia Laing is my new favourite non-fiction writer -- Nick Hornby
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 with a directness that lights it up like nothing else. It’s why I read her -- James Lasdun
Her observations and poetic incisiveness on art, writers and politics are a gift. This is a fascinating, excursive, tonic of a book -- Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations
A thought-provoking, inspiring collection that you can go back to whenever the weather takes a funny turn * Evening Standard *
Funny Weather gives the reader a tangible sense of the sprawling garden of work which Laing has planted. She is to the art world what David Attenborough is to nature: a worthy guide with both a macro and micro vision, fluent in her chosen tongue and always full of empathy and awe * Irish Times *
Laing has acted as a kind of cultural sage for the past four years, an accidental literary grande dame of the emotional havoc wrought by late capitalism and digital disconnect * New York Magazine *
Laing writes of her creative subjects in a winning, passionate voice that proves both soothing and galvanizing, especially amid a panic . . . It’s not just art we need in an emergency, but writers, like Laing, who gently guide our eyes to what’s out there -- Alina Cohen * Observer *
The hospitality of world view in Olivia’s writing is a vital force in our disputatious present -- Maria Balshaw, director of Tate
Laing combines passion and curiosity in a collection of art-based essays and profiles that reflect the uncertainty of our age * Guardian *
Never has a publication been more timely * Dazed *
A warm, thinking, enticing sweep of a book, like spending the afternoon with your brainiest friend -- Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chambers
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
The book to help you make sense of the world . . . [a] mesmerizing collection of essays . . . this unique and compassionate book is a mind-expanding opportunity to rethink how we live, and what we can do to change things for the better. * Stylist *
A light-footed tour of enriching stories, lives, and ideas * Dazed and Confused *
Her gift as a critic is her ability to imaginatively sympathize with her subjects in a way that allows the art and life of the artist to go on radiating meaning after the book is closed * Elle *
Breathtaking, beautiful, funny, shocking, sad, revealing, and timely -- Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina
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 21st century literature: brilliantly expressed, wildly uncontained, wilful and wonderfully unbound. -- Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR
Olivia Laing shines the light for art writing. Funny Weather urges us to humanise art, and listen to what artists say about life, love and crisis. -- Charlie Porter
An incivisive meditation on the value of heartfelt, messy art in our paranoid times * Telegraph *
It’s not just art we need in an emergency, but writers, like Laing, who gently guide our eyes to what’s out there * Observer *
Vibrant commentary on art and society by a writer with a sharp eye for the offbeat * Kirkus *
Laing’s essays are urgent, compassionate, enlivening and acutely perceptive, and that’s true whether or not we encounter them “in an emergency” * the arts desk *
Her words seem balefully accurate, given what has now overtaken us * Financial Times *
Laing is an intelligent and acute writer, and this book is certainly interesting and assuredly well-written * Scotsman *
Laing’s arts writing is sharp-minded, and her manner is generous toward both subject and reader * Washington Post *

ISBN: 9781529027655

Dimensions: 196mm x 130mm x 25mm

Weight: 264g

368 pages