No Judgment: Essays (Hardcover)

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"The essay collection everyone’s talking about."—New York

A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2024: Elle, The Millions, LitHub, Nylon, BookPage, PureWow, and more

From the national bestselling novelist and essayist, a groundbreaking collection of brand-new pieces about the role of cultural criticism in our ever-changing world.

In her writing for Harper’s, the London Review of Books, The New Yorker, and elsewhere, Lauren Oyler has emerged as one of the most trenchant and influential critics of her generation, a talent whose judgments on works of literature—whether celebratory or scarily harsh—have become notorious. But what is the significance of being a critic and consumer of media in today’s fraught environment? How do we understand ourselves, and each other, as space between the individual and the world seems to get smaller and smaller, and our opinions on books and movies seem to represent something essential about our souls? And to put it bluntly, why should you care what she—or anyone—thinks?

In this, her first collection of essays, Oyler writes with about topics like the role of gossip in our exponentially communicative society, the rise and proliferation of autofiction, why we’re all so “vulnerable” these days, and her own anxiety. In her singular prose—sharp yet addictive, expansive yet personal—she encapsulates the world we live and think in with precision and care, delivering a work of cultural criticism as only she can.

Bringing to mind the works of such iconic writers as Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, and Terry Castle, No Judgment is a testament to Lauren Oyler’s inimitable wit and her quest to understand how we shape the world through culture. It is a sparkling nonfiction debut from one of today’s most inventive thinkers.

About the Author

Lauren Oyler’s essays on books and culture appear regularly in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the London Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, the Guardian, Bookforum, and other publications. She is the author of the novel Fake Accounts. She lives in Berlin.

Praise For…

"Oyler is one of our sharpest and most fearless cultural critics. . . . Opining on gossip and anxiety, autofiction and vulnerability, and much, much more, [her] caustic wit and penetrating voice shine through every essay." — Sophia Stewart, The Millions

"[Oyler's] takes would be dizzying if she were not so skilled in constructing solid arguments that deepen our understanding of cultural criticism. No Judgment is deeply funny and wise." — BookPage

"These peppery inquiries are rigorously informed, deftly composed, and deeply conceptualized interpretations of human foibles and endeavors in a world feverish with social media and hooked to the 'attention economy' . . . Oyler is frank, fierce, funny, and brilliant; her brainy, passionate criticism exhilarating." — Booklist (starred review)

"Here, Oyler writes about her profession, her own anxiety, and topics from gossip to vulnerability—giving all a close, honest look that leaves the reader with a kind of clarity that didn't exist before." — Town & Country

"Whether she’s writing a personal essay, jour­nalism or criticism, Oyler brings to the task evidence of wide reading, thoughtful engage­ment and vigorous prose. . . . Her jour­nalistic explorations of gossip and of online reviews, especially those on Goodreads, are both enlightening and provocative. Oyler is a writer who will have readers nod­ding in agreement on one page and shaking their heads vigorously on the next. Whatever the reaction at a given moment, one can rest assured that her writing is never dull." — Harvey Freedenberg, BookPage

"Witty, agile essays from the novelist and New Yorker writer with a talent for cutting through the hype…stimulating company on the page." — The Guardian

"[Oyler’s] sense of humor is present, as is her agile thinking….Several essays here provoked the surprising thought, ‘This is the sanest thing I have ever read on this topic.' . . . These episodes are fluidly stitched together with added context from history and literature, which is the structure of most of the essays in the book. At its best, it feels like your smart friend explaining to you something you missed on the internet, why it’s important and what it means. . . . Oyler is a sharp and confident critic." — New York Times Book Review

"Oyler adeptly employs her research and logic to stay tight to a theme. Most delightfully, her sardonic voice permeates the entire collection." — Shelf Awareness

"The essay collection everyone’s talking about." — New York

"With her new collection of essays, No Judgment, Oyler is self-aware in her observations, covering at length, for instance, the dominance of autofiction over the last decade, a genre that Oyler explored with her 2021 debut novel, Fake Accounts. It’s rare that young writers get the chance to go this granular on topics of their choosing; with, No Judgment, Oyler takes this advantage and runs with it, diving into subjects like the utility of gossip, anxiety, life in her now-home city of Berlin, and the rise of the star rating system for books—or, the act of reviewing itself." — W, The Most Talked-About Books of 2024 (So Far)

"Brisk, honest and soaring with élan. Oyler persuasively advocates clear thinking through doing it herself with such poise. Her critical approach isn't currently common sense, but it should be, and soon enough maybe it will." — Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times and The Happy Couple

"Like stumbling into the best archival New Yorker essays—smart and unafraid and (thank God) funny. This is exactly what I want to read." — Monica Heisey, author of Really Good, Actually

"Absorbing and funny . . . [Oyler] has plenty of interesting things to say about autofiction, spoilers, and life as an expatriate. . . . A challenging and often eye-opening nonfiction debut." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Oyler’s commentary is incisive, and her prose is lucid and playful. . . . This is as intellectually stimulating as it is fun to read." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063235359
ISBN-10: 0063235358
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: March 19th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English