Living Rooms

Living Rooms

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published 10/11/2022

by Sam Johnson-Schlee

'Today the ideal home remains a site of illusory ease, a space that can be wiped clean of the residues of living...'

In this radical and elegiac essay, Sam Johnson-Schlee invites readers to consider the dreams and fantasies we have about our homes, and their underlying reality.

Living Rooms blends history, theory, and memoir as it moves between the colonial trade in house plants, Proustian reminiscence, and razor-sharp critique of rentier capitalism. Johnson-Schlee suggests that, by looking closely at the places where we live, we can confront political realities that extend out into the world.

In the way we furnish our homes, might we be unconsciously imagining a different kind of life? In the way we arrange our sofas, picture frames, and our pot plants, are we dreaming of a better world? And what would it mean to reject the notion that a house should be a commodity, and to embrace the idea of a truly living room?

About the author

Sam Johnson-Schlee is an academic and writer living by the sea in North Essex. He writes non-fiction and memoir about the politics and culture of everyday life. He is interested in how paying attention to familiar objects and practices can open up new perspectives on the world we live in. Living Rooms is his first book.