The Lonely Stories. 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone

Publication Date:

April 2022



Original language and publisher

English | Catapult

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America

Territories Sold

South Korea (Hyeda, at auction)
China (Shanghai Translation)



The Lonely Stories. 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone


An absorbing, moving, cathartic collection. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Absolute must-read essay collection . . . Serving at once as a how-to, therapy, and a literary companion, this collection will bring light to readers.” Booklist (starred review)

“Moving.” The New York Times Book Review

“Wise, wondrous . . . A necessary guidebook in our Covid era.” —Hamilton Cain, Oprah Daily 

“Gutsy and illuminating.” —Nell Beram, Shelf Awareness

Solitude gets the spotlight in this illuminating anthology . . . Garrett has made a subject often feared into something uplifting . . . Fans of the personal essay will want to check this out.  Publishers Weekly

This profound collection shines light on the different facets of being alone, a condition of modern life that predates the pandemic and will continue beyond. It’s a gorgeous, illuminating exploration of the ways in which connection is crucial to survival and creative expression can heal. — Suleika Jaouad, author of ‘Between Two Kingdoms’

Surprising, sly, heart-stopping, celebratory—the essays in ‘The Lonely Stories’ evoke the gamut of emotions, in the way of isolation itself. A timely, and lasting, collection. — Claire Messud, author of ‘The Burning Girl’

This collection is a reminder of the commonalities of human experience, an examination of the challenges of a social species, and an uplifting look at how we connect with ourselves when we are alone. Oh Reader

“A rich tapestry that illuminates the experience of being alone—its trials, tribulations and its replenishing blessings.” — Saffron Swire, Reaction 

“The most riveting essay collection I’ve ever read. Each essay offers a strong sense of place and investigates the texture of aloneness. The surgeon general says loneliness is an epidemic; these writers have taken moments of loneliness and made art.” —Christie Tate, Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

A collection of essays about the joys and struggles of being alone by 22 literary writers including: Lev Grossman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lena Dunham, Jesmyn Ward, Yiyun Li, and Anthony Doerr.

If you’re feeling lonely or if you’ve ever felt unseen, if you’re emboldened by solitude or secretly longing for it: Welcome to The Lonely Stories. This cathartic collection of essays illuminates an experience that so few of us openly discuss. Some stories are heartbreaking, such as Jesmyn Ward’s reckoning with the loss of her husband and Dina Nayeri’s reflection on immigrating to a foreign country. Others are witty, such as Lev Grossman’s rueful tale of heading to the woods or Anthony Doerr’s struggles with internet addiction. Still others celebrate the clarity of solitude, like Claire Dederer’s journey toward sobriety and Lidia Yuknavitch’s sensual look at desire. Thoughtful and affirming, The Lonely Stories reveals the complexities of an emotion we’ve all felt—reminding us that we’re not alone.

List of contributors:

  1. Jeffery Renard Allen
  2. Peter Ho Davies
  3. Claire Dederer
  4. Anthony Doerr
  5. Lena Dunham
  6. Melissa Febos
  7. Helena Fitzgerald
  8. Aja Gabel
  9. Megan Giddings
  10. Lev Grossman
  11. Jean Kwok
  12. Jhumpa Lahiri
  13. Yiyun Li
  14. Maile Meloy
  15. Dina Nayeri
  16. Imani Perry
  17. Emily Raboteau
  18. Maya Shanbhag-Lang
  19. Amy Shearn
  20. Maggie Shipstead
  21. Jesmyn Ward
  22. Lidia Yuknavitch

Marketing Information

  • A Fortune Best Book of the Month 
  • A Nylon Best New Book of the Month