The Empathy Exams

Title:
The Empathy Exams
Essays
Leslie Jamison
Price$16.00
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“Extraordinary. . . . [Jamison’s] cerebral, witty, multichambered essays tend to swing around to one topic in particular: what we mean when we say we feel someone else’s pain.”The New York Times

“Jamison writes with such originality and humor. . . . To articulate suffering with so much clarity, and so little judgement, is to turn pain into art.”Entertainment Weekly

About the Book

From personal loss to phantom diseases, a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
Beginning with her experience as a medical actor, paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about one another? How can we feel another’s pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain—real and imagined, her own and others’—Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory—from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration—in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace. The Empathy Exams is a brilliant and forceful book by one of this country’s vital young writers.

Additional Reviews

“[A] stunning collection. . . . A profound investigation of empathy’s potential and its limits.”Cosmopolitan, “10 Books by Women You Have to Read This Spring”

“There is a glory to this kind of writing that derives as much from its ethical generosity . . . as it does from the lovely vividness of the language itself. . . . It’s hard to imagine a stronger, more thoughtful voice emerging this year.”The New York Times Book Review

“At 30, [Jamison] could be a granddaughter of Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. . . . The Empathy Exams is their descendant, yet Jamison’s blend of wit and brainy warmth is completely distinctive.”The Atlantic