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A Novel

Olivia Laing (Author)


A brilliant, funny, and emphatically raw novel of love on the brink of the apocalypse, from the acclaimed author of The Lonely City.

"She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn’t have a clue."

Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It’s the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker.

From a Tuscan hotel for the superrich to a Brexit-paralyzed United Kingdom, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties adjusting to the idea of a lifelong commitment. But it’s not only Kathy who’s changing. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is heating up, and Trump is tweeting the world ever-closer to nuclear war. How do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all?

In Crudo, her first work of fiction, Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel with a fierce, compassionate account of learning to love when the end of the world seems near.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Forthcoming September 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-65272-7
  • 5.9 × 8.6 in / 160 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Laing's experiment, and it's a good one, is to describe the world—her world, between May 17 and September 23, 2017—as precisely as she can. . . . [Crudo is] a short, entirely readable, and lovably eccentric book.” — Nick Hornby, The Believer

“A spitfire of a story with a fervent narrator and a twist: The book is written in the voice of punk feminist author Kathy Acker performed in a mash-up with Laing's own, as she considers marriage (with equivocation) and the absurdity of current events circa 2017.” — The Millions

“A narrative written with immense vitality and, miraculously, the lightest of touches. . . . It's a subversive love story that shouldn't work, but does.” — Deborah Levy, Wall Street Journal

Crudo seduces from the very first sentence. Laing as Acker is not a literary device—it is literary detonation. . . . Crudo is a hot, hot book.” — Guardian

“To enjoy this book, you have to stop trying to understand it. If you can, you may well experience a warm sense of recognition at the absurdity and impossibility of trying to carry on a life in these times. Mysterious, bizarre, frustrating, weirdly smart, and pretty cool.” — Kirkus

“Penetrating. . . . The world Kathy moves in is, like that in Joyce’s Ulysses, full of touchstones for intimate memories and reveries. . . . Laing trenchantly depicts the life of the creative mind.” — Publishers Weekly

“Beautiful and strange, Olivia Laing’s Crudo is an urgent, compelling, funny and moving tale for our times.” — Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

“Reading Olivia Laing’s short, sleek novel Crudo is like seeing the (very) recent past through a wall of mirrors. Laing adopts fragments of Kathy Acker’s writings and life to arrive at a narrative style that’s readable, shockingly new, and surprisingly tender. I didn’t want it to stop.” — Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

“The diffuse literary form of Crudo is ridiculously good…Olivia Laing has probably the most art- and texture-savvy, sensitive ear of anyone writing today.” — Eileen Myles, author of Afterglow

“Sharp, witty, and totally engaging. Crudo is a brilliant novel.” — Patrick McGrath, author of The Wardrobe Mistress

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