Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award
The Collected Schizophrenias
- “Wang is a brilliant writer. . . . This intimate essay collection grapples with her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and all the sorrow and searching that comes with it. Always artful and illuminating, never facile.”—New York Magazine’s Vulture
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.
Esmé Weijun Wang reading at Green Apple Books on the Park
Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco, CAview map
In conversation with R. O. Kwon.
- “In a voice both laboratorial and poetic, Wang examines her own diagnosis, as well as her PTSD and Lyme disease, with a gentleness and frankness that mesmerizes and demystifies.”—The Week
- “Wang’s clear-eyed look into a complicated reality makes this is an essential read for anyone who better wants to understand why we treat each other—and ourselves—so harshly at any display of weakness; it’s a book of compassion and brilliance, an unflinching look at a topic that has long repelled too many of us.”—NYLON
- “Written with clarity, precision, and a lack of sentimentality, it’s the kind of book that builds its emotional heft with straightforward and yet highly effective materials.”—Vogue.com
- “[An] utterly unique book of essays: a deep, illuminating, and explosively written dive into a life of living with mental illness.”—Entertainment Weekly