The Empathy Exams: Essays
From personal loss to phantom diseases, The Empathy Exams is a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Essay Collection of Spring 2014
Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was 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 each other? 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.
A powerful yet refreshing essay collection centred around themes of confession, illness, violence and sentimentality from an exciting new American talent
Shortlisted for William Hazlitt Essay Prize 2013.
LESLIE JAMISON grew up in Los Angeles. Educated at Harvard College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has also worked as an innkeeper in California, a schoolteacher in Nicaragua, and an office temp in Manhattan. She is currently studying for a PhD at Yale University, where she is writing a dissertation on poverty and degradation in twentieth century American writing. Her first novel, The Gin Closet, was published in 2010.