cover image The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken

The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken

Aimée Lutkin. Dial, $18 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-984855-88-6

Essayist Lutkin debuts with a brilliant reframing of the cultural narrative around singledom with an impassioned defense of its pleasures. After confiding to her coupled friends at a dinner that she might not date anymore, their responses left her feeling “out of place.” At 32 years old and in a culture “built around partnership,” she writes, “the hardest part of being single wasn’t the quality of my life, it was really this lack of language to articulate the meaning of my own solitude.” Determined to resolve her inner conflict, she joined a gym and dove into dating apps. However, countless dates later, Lutkin concluded that “on the other side of trying... [was] more of the same.” Armed with insights from psychoanalysts and Sex and the City (where “every character is subjected to humiliations related to being single”), she contends with the stigmas “uncoupled” individuals face, such as that their singleness means there’s “something wrong” with them. With sparkling intellect and wit, Lutkin argues that being single can be just as life-giving as companionship, citing research that proves it fosters “personal growth, autonomy, and self-determination.” She also offers ways that people can combat loneliness, while calling on society to do the work as well, through better urban planning initiatives and “abolishing punitive systems that create ‘loneliness.’ ” This work makes enjoyable company. (Feb.)