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The Empathy Exams

Essays
Leslie Jamison
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.

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-671-2
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Pages
248
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
From personal loss to phantom diseases, a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

About the Author

Leslie  Jamison
Credit: Colleen Kinder
Leslie Jamison is the author of The Empathy Exams. Her essays have appeared in the Believer, Harper’s, Oxford American, A Public Space, Tin House, and The Best American Essays. She is a regular columnist for the New York Times Book Review and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

http://www.lesliejamison.com/
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Praise

  • “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
  • “[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

Acknowledgements

The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize is funded in part by endowed gifts from the Arsham Ohanessian Charitable Remainder Unitrust and the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation.
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