The Lonely Stories

22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone

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9781948226608 | Paperback 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 272 pages Buy it Now

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9781948226615 | Ebook | 272 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

A collection of essays about the joys and struggles of being alone by 22 literary writers including: Lev Grossman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lena Dunham, Jesmyn Ward, Yiyun Li, and Anthony Doerr

If you’re feeling lonely or if you’ve ever felt unseen, if you’re emboldened by solitude or secretly longing for it: Welcome to The Lonely Stories. This cathartic collection of essays illuminates an experience that so few of us openly discuss. Some stories are heartbreaking, such as Jesmyn Ward’s reckoning with the loss of her husband and Dina Nayeri’s reflection on immigrating to a foreign country. Others are witty, such as Lev Grossman’s rueful tale of heading to the woods or Anthony Doerr’s struggles with internet addiction. Still others celebrate the clarity of solitude, like Claire Dederer’s journey toward sobriety and Lidia Yuknavitch’s sensual look at desire. Thoughtful and affirming, The Lonely Stories reveals the complexities of an emotion we’ve all felt—reminding us that we’re not alone. 

Contributors include:

  • Megan Giddings
  • Claire Dederer
  • Imani Perry
  • Jeffery Renard Allen
  • Maggie Shipstead
  • Emily Raboteau
  • Lev Grossman
  • Lena Dunham
  • Yiyun Li
  • Anthony Doerr
  • Helena Fitzgerald
  • Maile Meloy
  • Aja Gabel
  • Jean Kwok
  • Amy Shearn
  • Peter Ho Davies
  • Maya Shanbhag Lang
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Jesmyn Ward
  • Lidia Yuknavitch
  • Dina Nayeri
  • Melissa Febos

    About the Author

    Praise For This Book

    Praise for The Lonely Stories

    A Fortune Best Book of the Month
    The Millions, A Most Anticipated Book of the Month

    "Moving." —The New York Times Book Review

    "Stories about longing to feel seen, or feeling power in solitude, from some of our favorite writers." —Sophia June, A NYLON Best New Book of the Month

    "Poignant, sad, uplifting, and hopeful all at once, and a great read whether you feel lonely in the moment or not." —Sarah Neilson, Shondaland

    "Wise, wondrous . . . A necessary guidebook in our Covid era." —Hamilton Cain, Oprah Daily

    "Compelling and timely . . . Quietly powerful . . . I underlined and underlined. I texted photos of entire pages of these essays to my female friends. They hearted the messages and texted back YES." —Charlotte Hecht, Los Angeles Review of Books

    "Has there ever been a more appropriate time for a chronicle of writers’ individual experiences with the state of being alone than now, in the midst of an isolating and prolonged global pandemic? . . . From a diverse set of acclaimed authors." —Sophia Carr, Zyzzyva

    "This collection is a reminder of the commonalities of human experience, an examination of the challenges of a social species, and an uplifting look at how we connect with ourselves when we are alone." —Oh Reader

    "Gutsy and illuminating."—Nell Beram, Shelf Awareness

    "Absolute must-read essay collection . . . Serving at once as a how-to, therapy, and a literary companion, this collection will bring light to readers." —Booklist (starred review)

    "An absorbing, moving, cathartic collection."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "Solitude gets the spotlight in this illuminating anthology . . . Garrett has made a subject often feared into something uplifting . . . Fans of the personal essay will want to check this out." —Publishers Weekly

    "The most riveting essay collection I've ever read. Each essay offers a strong sense of place and investigates the texture of aloneness. The surgeon general says loneliness is an epidemic; these writers have taken moments of loneliness and made art." —Christie Tate, author of Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

    "A poignant tour through the beauty and challenges of solitude—as a thing to escape, covet, cultivate, and come to terms with." —Tajja Isen, author of Some of My Best Friends

    "This profound collection shines light on the different facets of being alone, a condition of modern life that predates the pandemic and will continue beyond. It's a gorgeous, illuminating exploration of the ways in which connection is crucial to survival and creative expression can heal." —Suleika Jaouad, author of Between Two Kingdoms

    "Surprising, sly, heart-stopping, celebratory—the essays in The Lonely Stories evoke the gamut of emotions, in the way of isolation itself. A timely, and lasting, collection." —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl

    Praise for Eat Joy:

    "The essays in Eat Joy are so sharp, so real, so beautiful, so full of heartbreak . . . Each is an extraordinary act of generosity." —Helen Rosner, food correspondent for The New Yorker

    "Natalie Eve Garrett's Eat Joy does this magical thing where it makes you remember the tastes of the heaviest times in your life, while reminding you that everyone on earth has experienced the taste of love and loss, though none of our tastes are the same. This is the first collection that ever made me want to sensually eat, cook, write, and thank all the wonderful makers of the most memorable memories in my life." —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy