A book for our times: a moving meditation on the tension between loneliness and freedom, individualism and love.
At no time before have so many people lived alone, and never has loneliness been so widely or keenly felt. Why, in a society of individualists, is living alone perceived as a shameful failure? And can we ever be happy on our own? Drawing on personal experience, as well as philosophy and sociology, Daniel Schreiber explores the tension between the desire for solitude and freedom, and the desire for companionship, intimacy, and love. Along the way he illuminates the role that friendships play in our lives—can they be a response to the loss of meaning in a world in crisis? A profoundly enlightening book on how we want to live, Alone spent almost a year on Germany’s bestseller list.
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Praise for ALONE
"Drawing on personal experience, as well as philosophy and sociology, Schreiber explores the tensions between our desire for solitude and our need for companionship and intimacy. The result is a ‘profoundly enlightening look at loneliness in modern life.'”
“The most moving, memorable books are the ones that attempt to answer questions that the author has been struggling with for his entire life. In Alone, Schreiber—a beautiful writer and, just as important, a beautiful thinker—explores the questions of not just his life, but our age: Who am I if no one loves me? What are the limits of friendship? How does one live with deep and profound loneliness? This is a book for not just this year, but this era.”
-Hanya Yanagihara, author of "A Little Life"
“Schreiber has written a brave and searching vindication of single life, a book about the cultivation and tending of solitude, about solitude as an art. Amid the bewildering loss of everydayness imposed by the pandemic, when solitude was not chosen but enforced, Schreiber creates in these pages a moving conversation—with philosophers and poets, theorists and novelists—about the sources of value in our lives. By multiplying our sense of those sources, by insisting on the dignity of models of life that have sometimes been disparaged, this book finally becomes a document of liberation.”
-Garth Greenwell, author of "Cleanness"
“This is a book to love and to cherish. Schreiber is such a skilled and engaging writer. Without sentimentality, he digs into the taboo subject of loneliness—societal, personal, existential; the salvation of hiking, the many dimensions of friendship, the solace of literature, the value of kindness, the pleasures of solitude. You will meet Nietzsche, Sappho, Arendt—and perhaps you will meet yourself, walking in the hills, thinking about new ways to live.”
"An intelligent, moving, and heartfelt meditation on the mixed joys and sorrows of solitude. Schreiber's prose is gorgeous, practically silken, and he wears his erudition so lightly that he is the best possible guide on this journey to the elegant lunar landscape of aloneness."
-Lauren Groff, author of "Matrix" and "Fates and Furies"
“Oh my god, I tore through this breathtaking book! Alone is gorgeously, sensitively written and yet so explicit in its honesty and vulnerability. I connected with it deeply and personally—I truly loved it.”
-Jami Attenberg, author of “All This Could Be Yours” and “I Came All This Way to Meet You”
"This is a book to love and to cherish. Schreiber is such a skilled and engaging writer. Without sentimentality, he digs into the taboo subject of loneliness—societal, personal, existential; the salvation of hiking, the many dimensions of friendship, the solace of literature, the value of kindness, the pleasures of solitude. You will meet Nietzsche, Sappho, Arendt—and perhaps you will meet yourself, walking in the hills, thinking about new ways to live."
-Deborah Levy, author of "The Cost of Living" and "August Blue"
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About the Author & Translator
Daniel Schreiber is the author of Susan Sontag, the first complete biography of the intellectual icon, as well as the highly praised and bestselling German-language literary essays Nüchtern and Zuhause. He lives in Berlin.
Ben Fergusson is an award-winning writer and translator. He is the author of Tales from the Fatherland and An Honest Man.