Marjan Slob

The Empty Sky

On Loneliness

Loneliness is a human talent, even if it does not make you happier

Loneliness is the dark side of the powerful human ability to imagine other, better worlds. After all, when you are lonely, you are suffering from what is not there, and you can picture it.

Seen in this way, loneliness is inseparably linked with important human attributes: self-reflection and imagination. It is a terrible feeling, but also reveals your possibilities. At the same time, the price for the talent for experiencing loneliness is that you are painfully aware of what is missing from your current life.

Marjan Slob dives into the phenomenon of loneliness, entering into dialogues with philosophers such as Blaise Pascal, Daniel Dennett and Simone de Beauvoir. She finds, in literature, music and film, images that bring the concept of loneliness into focus. David Bowie plays an important role throughout her story: his transformations offer a helpful example of how to deal with the given of human loneliness with elegance and self-awareness. The Empty Sky is a consoling, agile ode to loneliness, written with a light, supple pen.

A scintillating and quirky book about loneliness, surprisingly multidimensional in scope. Supplely and attractively written.

Jury report for the shortlist Best Spiritual Book of 2021

Marjan Slob

Marjan Slob is an essayist, columnist and philosopher. She previously wrote Hersenbeest (Brain Animal), which was awarded the Socrates Cup in 2017. She also writes for de Volkskrant.

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De lege hemel. Over eenzaamheid (2020). Non-fiction, 224 pages.

Themes: philosophy


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