This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity

Books on Tape Oct. 2023. 9:11 hrs. ISBN 9780593789650. $76. BIOG
In this self-narrated book, Deming (director, creative writing program, Yale; Art of the Ordinary) meditates on the nature and power of loneliness. Deming notes that loneliness is considered a pervasive, even universal affliction, especially in modern times. However, he argues that loneliness is not new. It has long been present, and indeed, it can serve as a powerful catalyst for creativity, art, and growth. Deming offers a heartfelt and poetic narration of his own loneliness, brought on by his feelings of not belonging. Additionally, he dwells upon the loneliness felt by six brilliant 20th-century individuals, including psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, writer Zora Neale Hurston, photographer Walker Evans, and Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. Deming’s heartfelt narration enhances his beautiful book, allowing him to precisely convey the right emotions and tell the story as it was intended to be heard. His research and commitment to the topic are evident as he thoroughly outlines the careers and lives of the figures he highlights.
VERDICT A timely and sincere exploration of loneliness. Though it touches on occasionally heavy topics, this insightful book should resonate broadly.
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