In her best book yet, Leslie Jamison pokes into the unexplored corners of the world and tells stories on behalf of the collective and the individual. She begins with a singular premise and then widens her scope to encompass universal experiences. So when she writes about 52 Blue or Second Life or children with memories of past lives, she’s also writing about loneliness, alienation, and a deep longing for a connection strong enough to extinguish any dread. She’s writing about the people who find it and the people who don’t and her compassion inspired the same in me. Since Jamison participates in the narratives, this collection feels more extracted than written, each piece the organic result of an honest struggle. Vivid and vital, Make It Scream, Make It Burn is a book to light up the dark. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From the "astounding" (Entertainment Weekly), "spectacularly evocative" (The Atlantic), and "brilliant" (Los Angeles Times) author of the New York Times bestsellers The Recovering and The Empathy Exams comes a return to the essay form in this expansive new book.
With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which she has become known, Leslie Jamison offers us fourteen new essays that are by turns ecstatic, searching, staggering, and wise. In its kaleidoscopic sweep, Make It Scream, Make It Burn creates a profound exploration of the oceanic depths of longing and the reverberations of obsession.
Among Jamison's subjects are 52 Blue, deemed "the loneliest whale in the world"; the eerie past-life memories of children; the devoted citizens of an online world called Second Life; the haunted landscape of the Sri Lankan Civil War; and an entire museum dedicated to the relics of broken relationships. Jamison follows these examinations to more personal reckonings — with elusive men and ruptured romances, with marriage and maternity — in essays about eloping in Las Vegas, becoming a stepmother, and giving birth.
Often compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, and widely considered one of the defining voices of her generation, Jamison interrogates her own life with the same nuance and rigor she brings to her subjects. Indeed, this refusal to hide — this emotional and intellectual frankness — is precisely the quality that makes her questing and irrepressible voice impossible to resist.
"A riot of quirkiness and eccentricity, and the mood of the book, which shifts from droll humor to melancholy to gentle vulnerability, is unclassifiable — and just right." Kirkus
"Illuminating and ruminative...Jamison is positively brilliant when penetrating a subject and unraveling its layers of meaning...Fans of the author's unique brand of perceptiveness will be delighted." Publishers Weekly
"Richly diverse . . . The pieces in Make It Scream, Make It Burn are all written with care and intricacy, drawing readers in and making us care . . . Jamison's observational skills, genuine empathy, and lack of sentimentality create an intelligent blending of journalism, scholarship, and memoir." Pam Kingsbury, Library Journal
"Gritty...Raw...Thought-provoking and distinct...Fascinating in ways you might not expect." San Francisco Chronicle
"Perceptive and generous-hearted...Jamison is a writer of exacting grace." Washington Post
"Lush, almost caressing...Illuminating...What a gift." NPR
About the Author
Leslie Jamison is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Recovering and The Empathy Exams, and the novel The Gin Closet. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and her work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic, Harper's, the New York Times Book Review, the Oxford American, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Powell's Books on PowellsBooks.Blog
Thirty-three-year-old Carmen Maria Machado is a bit of a wunderkind, prestigious enough to warrant a Wikipedia page, but too young for it to be much more than a list of her accomplishments...