Acclaimed author Olivia Laing examines the life of renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to chart an electrifying course through the great freedom movements of the twentieth century.

LONGLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2022 The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. At a moment in which basic rights are once again imperilled, Olivia Laing conducts an ambitious investigation into the body and its discontents, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to chart a daring course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, from gay rights and sexual liberation to 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, she 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. Everybody is an examination of the forces arranged against freedom and a celebration of how ordinary human bodies can resist oppression and reshape the world. PRAISE FOR EVERYBODY 'A free-wheeling and joyful exploration of the works and lives of a range of artists and thinkers who brought libidinal and creative energy together with spectacular results' - Jack Halberstam PRAISE FOR OLIVIA LAING 'A brave writer whose books open up fundamental questions about life and art' Telegraph 'Simply one of our most exciting writers' Observer


ISBN13: 9781509857128
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 26 May 2022
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication City, Country: London, United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 19.7(H) x 13(L) x 2.4(W)262
Weight (gm): 262

Author Biography

Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of non-fiction, To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring and The Lonely City, which has been translated into seventeen languages and sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. Her first novel, Crudo, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller and won the 2019 James Tait Memorial Prize. She's a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2018 was awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction. Laing writes on art and culture for many publications, including the Guardian, New York Times and frieze. Her collected writing on art, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency, was published in 2020. She lives in Suffolk.


An ambitious, absorbing achievement that will make your brain hum * Evening Standard *
Astonishing . . . I love this book -- Esme Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias
Laing's gift for weaving big ideas together with lyrical prose sets her alongside the likes of Arundhati Roy, John Berger and James Baldwin. In other words, she is among the most significant voices of our time * Financial Times *

Intensely moving, vital and artful

-- Josh Cohen * Guardian *
Radically subversive * The Times Literary Supplement *
[Everybody] brims with empathy . . . Laing has written a piercing book. That she has no final answer to the problem of freedom does not detract from her achievement. Indeed, she encourages us all to ask new questions to discover how it feels, and what it means, to be free - queries that are as vital as they are resistant to any single answer -- Aziz Huq * Washington Post *
Laing is a truly thrilling thinker, with an impressively roving intellectual eye * Telegraph *
Andrea Dworkin, Sontag, Malcolm X, Freud - they speak to us and come alive again, but we aren't asked to decide if they are good or bad; we can listen to their thoughts and ideas. It's a revelation in an age when we seem endlessly to judge and condemn our artists and thinkers -- Chantal Joffe * Guardian *
Even as she glides between subjects and themes, Laing remains anchored by the bond between the body and personhood. In a standout chapter, she claims that the harm of violence is not the work it does to transform subjects into objects, but the incompletion of that work: the soul becomes a "ruin with a human face" * New Yorker *
Bristles with energy and understanding as it charts the body's pleasures and pains, its fragilities, and endurance in the long 20th century . . . This really is a book for everybody -- Lisa Appignanesi, author of Mad, Bad and Sad
A dizzying ride . . . both timely and beguiling * The Sunday Times *
A quintessential book for the precarious moment we've found ourselves in * Washington Post *
Olivia Laing writes so well and engagingly -- Philippa Perry, author of How to Stay Sane
Olivia Laing's mind is a thrill to watch -- Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body
Through [Laing's] incisive lens, the body-that knot of mind, matter, culture, and society that we dwell inescapably within-becomes almost impossibly fascinating -- Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
A new book by Olivia Laing is always cause for celebration and Everybody: A Book About Freedom is no exception * Frieze *
A provocative inquiry into the body's power and vulnerability . . . casting fresh light on the unending struggles for freedom and autonomy -- Jenn Shapland, author of My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
Brainy, open-hearted and bold -- Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse and Let the Record Show
Laing is radically empathetic, a writer-activist * Vulture *
A free-wheeling and joyful exploration -- Jack Halberstam, author of Gaga Feminism
At a time in which all of our bodies have made us so strangely isolated and dangerous to each other, Everybody is especially resonant; and shows us just how important it is to explore our sexual identity in order to know who we really are -- Julia Blackburn, author of Time Songs

Impassioned and provocative . . . This lucid foray into some of life's deepest questions astonishes

* Publishers Weekly, starred review *
Intellectually vigorous and emotionally stirring * Kirkus, Starred Review *
Everybody possesses a looseness, richness, and abundance of originality . . . One does not expect a political study to perform such sharp close readings of art and literature, or to describe emotions so elegantly. Line by line and thought by thought, Laing writes with surgical discipline * New Yorker *

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