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(2021) Embodiment is not an easy business. From violence to illness, sexuality to racism, the fact of a body can be impossibly hard to inhabit. Olivia Laing draws on her own background in protest and alternative medicine to investigate the reasons why. Laing’s exploration of the complexities of bodily life takes in some of the most significant and beguiling figures of the past century, among them the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, the painters Francis Bacon and Agnes Martin and the singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone.
Despite its difficulties, the body remains a source of power, even in an age as technologised and automated as our own. Everybody is at heart a celebration of how ordinary human bodies, whatever they look like, can resist oppression and reshape the world.