Social mores had changed to accept a wider range of sexual practices.And it felt like the protagonist in some ways, the main person experiencing all of this, was women.”Thus began her quest to understand the consequences of these changes.Instead, this new crop of nonfiction seeks to blend personal writing with social analysis, to fashion some kind of philosophy about how we live, and love, now.
Laing, in her mid-30s — “an age at which female aloneness … Laing’s primary subject is not herself, but rather artists like Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol and Henry Darger, for whom, she argues, loneliness was everywhere. Laing herself appears in flashes all through the narrative, in cameos of solitude, staring into neighbors’ windows, skimming the personal ads on Craigslist, going on first dates with the men she finds there, but never any second dates.The latter is of course an impossible demand, and so many female writers are criticized when they (inevitably) fall short.”The British writer Olivia Laing isn’t exactly thrilled to be grouped into the category of women who write about matters of love and sex.She was in Cambridge, England, when I reached her to discuss her approach to the personal.The result is her book, “Future Sex,” to be published Oct. Along the way, when she would talk about what she was working on, “certain editors — male editors — have commented on my ‘memoir,’” said Ms. “An editor said to me, ‘It seems like every woman has to write about this at some point.’ Um, yeah, because it’s one of the most important things about being alive right now?”It requires only a glimpse at bookstore windows to notice the phalanx of young authors challenging the idea that dating and sex aren’t serious enough topics for certain kinds of writers to engage with.carries with it a persistent whiff of strangeness, deviance and failure” — moved to New York City for a man and then he left her, sending her spiraling into the kind of year that can, if you are Ms. Instead, she takes long, introspective walks through the city where she is loveless and occasionally so unmoored that she can barely bring herself to order coffee, too vulnerable to cope with her barista’s continuing inability to decode her English accent.When pressed about her ambivalence toward revealing her private life in writing, Ms.Laing said that: “there is a culture of confessional memoirs that I’m super-wary of.As soon as you use an ‘I’ — especially if you’re a woman — you’re on shaky ground.“All I saw was loneliness and anxiety and frozen eggs and criticizing men.I wanted to find an independence from that.”When Ms.