Episode 275 — Leslie Jamison


Leslie Jamison is the guest. Her new collection of essays, entitled The Empathy Exams, is now available from Graywolf Press.

The New York Times Book Review calls it

Extraordinary and exacting….This capacity for critical thinking, for a kind of cool skepticism that never gives way to the chilly blandishments of irony, is very rare. It’s not surprising that Jamison is drawing comparisons to Sontag….There is a glory to this kind of writing that derives as much from its ethical generosity, the palpable sense of stretch and reach, as it does from the lovely vividness of the language itself….It’s hard to imagine a stronger, more thoughtful voice emerging this year.

And Phillip Lopate, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle, says

[Jamison] writes consistently with passion and panache; her sentences are elegantly formed, her voice on the page intimate and insistent. Always intelligent, self-questioning, willing to experiment with form, daring to engage with the weird and thrust herself into danger spots, a patient researcher and voracious processor of literature and critical theory, she is the complete package: state-of-the-art nonfiction.

Monologue topics: mail, cheering up, the struggle, expressing the subterranean.