The Empathy Exams

Leslie Jamison, Coleen Marlo

The Empathy Exams
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The Empathy Exams

Leslie Jamison, Coleen Marlo

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.

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