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Meet The Author: Leslie Jamison

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.

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"Jamison has emerged as a definitive chronicler of human connection and the beauty of mundanity...She's been compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag...Make It Scream, Make It Burn proves those comparisons were no fluke. Here, Jamison reports on unusual obsessions before finding the essential humanity within them...The reader is skeptical, enlightened, and moved right along with her...With this brilliant new collection that rigorously interrogates the human condition, Leslie Jamison affirms why she's the essayist of the moment."—David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly
"Make It Scream, Make It Burn is a heady hybrid of journalism, memoir, and criticism...Sharply analytic and deeply personal...These essays reverse the arc of The Empathy Exams by moving from the external to the internal, from others' longings and hauntings to her own...Jamison has come a long way from the young woman who struggled to stave off loneliness with starvation and inebriation. In these tributes to what she has described as 'the deep realms of enchantment lodged inside ordinary life,' she shows that she's not afraid to buck the trend toward ironic detachment, even at the risk of sentimentality. This is a writer who is incapable of being uninteresting."—Heller McAlpin, NPR
"Intelligent and vibrant...Make It Scream, Make It Burn tackles the all-too-human topic of yearning and its oft-corollary, obsession. Both gurgle beneath the writer's sonorous and captivating prose...In fourteen essays, [Jamison] takes us through the valleys of Longing, Looking and Dwelling to a place of ultimate connection."—Janet Kinosian, Los Angeles Times
"Leslie Jamison's astonishingly formidable, restless intellect has gifted us two monumental works of nonfiction: 2014's The Empathy Exams, and last year's The Recovering. Here, she turns her exacting eye on subjects such as the loneliest whale in the world and a Croatian museum filled with the effluvia of failed relationships."—O, The Oprah Magazine
"The acclaimed essayist returns to her signature cocktail of memoir, journalism, and cultural criticism in this dazzling collection about the outer reaches of human connection...Acute in her analysis and nourishing in her observations, Jamison is at the height of her powers here as she investigates what we owe one another."—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
"Lovely and evocative...Most of these essays are heavyweight boxers."—New York Times Book Review
"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
"Insightful...The essays in the collection (which can easily be torn through, though should really be savored) contain observations on an eclectic array of subjects...Like the glass in a kaleidoscope, Jamison's fine-tuned attention seems capable of refracting whatever subject it touches. When I finally looked up from the page it was with a renewed sense of wonder."—Cornelia Channing, The Paris Review
"Leslie Jamison is a master of blending memoir, criticism and journalism...[her] characteristic fusion of the intellectual and emotional is in full force here, cementing comparisons of her work to that of Joan Didion and Susan Sontag."—Christy Lynch, Bookpage
"Even as she documents the experiences of others--Sri Lankan soldiers, Second Life superusers, eminent writers and photographers--Jamison is keenly aware of how her personal experiences shape the way she reports their stories. It's this knowledge that propels the collection, along with her rejection of cynicism in favor of being open to new ideas and experiences, no matter how foreign they may seem."—Maris Kreizman, Pacific Standard
"Jamison has emerged as a giant in the world of creative nonfiction. She returns with a beautifully compiled collection of essays reflecting on obsession and longing."—Entertainment Weekly
"These perceptive essays demonstrate that the best-selling author of The Empathy Exams continues to explore the limits of human connections."—Elle
"In a full-themed essay collection, Leslie Jamison breaks down doors on love, loss, birth, motherhood and more...The collection boasts joy among the rubble of life's biggest challenges."—Newsweek
"This wide-ranging essay collection is insightful and searching, exciting and staggering. Jamison interweaves memoir, journalism, and cultural criticism into essays that explore topics like motherhood, romance, and relationships... Jamison has been compared to such greats as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, so if you enjoy those, you'll love this one."—Good Housekeeping
"To fortify and enlarge the world through eloquence--apt descriptions of Jamison's new collection...Another wonderful book from this gifted writer."—The Millions
"Jamison is one of my favorite working essayists...[In] Make It Scream, Make It Burn [she] dances between the personal, the critical, and the observational, showing her deftness when it comes to each form."—Jeva Lange, The Week
"There [are] an abundance of surprises within Leslie Jamison's latest, which blends memoir and journalism in her own inimitable way. She writes probingly and movingly about everything...a roaming, wide-ranging collection, grounded through Jamison's lucid, unflinching prose, leading to a singularly empathetic, moving reading experience."—Nylon
"Stunning...Essential...Make It Scream, Make It Burn expands on the efforts of The Empathy Exams...Here we see the territory Jamison's writing inhabits: self-questioning while at the same time empathetic, dubious and credible at once...What Jamison is after is a kind of radical honesty: the ongoing inquiry of a mind at work. That this is not a new issue, but infuses all her writing, is the whole idea...For Jamison, interaction comes with all sorts of risk, not least that in getting close to other people, we can't help but leave ourselves exposed. Still, what other choice do we have? To be human is to be vulnerable."—David L. Ulin, Four Columns
"Magnetizing and thought-provoking...An edgy spirit of inquiry, a penchant for sharing personal experiences, and incandescent writing skills make Jamison an exciting premier essayist."—Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Leslie Jamison is a writer of supreme eloquence and intelligence who deftly combines journalistic, critical and memoiristic approaches to produce essays that linger long in the memory."—LitHub
"Jamison interrogates a variety of fascinating subjects, including her own life, in her praiseworthy second essay collection... Make It Scream, Make It Burn confirms the praise heaped on 2014's The Empathy Exams for her uncanny ability to blend perceptive reportage with intensely personal essays in consistently fresh, dynamic prose."—Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness
"In her new essay collection, Jamison allows herself to roam beyond the boundaries of one issue, and instead latches her powerful, precise observations to a number of unconventional topics."—Cristina Arreola, Bustle
"If you ever need to be reminded of the potential of the essay and why essay collections matter or if you just want to get excited about one, read Leslie Jamison...In Make It Scream, Make it Burn, three of the most poignant and personal essays come in the final section: one on Jamison's own marriage...A brilliant exploration of what it means to be a stepmother...and the last, an essay on giving birth that flips back and forth between Jamison's pregnancy and an eating disorder that marked her earlier experiences of her body."—Goop
"If you loved The Empathy Exams and The Recovering, you'll devour Leslie Jamison's new collection of essays about obsession and longing. From thoughts on Civil War photography to a museum dedicated to breakups, her insightful, thought-provoking writing shines brightly throughout."—Yahoo! Lifestyle
Praise for The Recovering -- Entertainment Weekly's #1 Nonfiction Book of 2018

"Energetic, colorful, fun, buzzy, affecting, and spot-on."—New York Times Book Review
"Magnificent and genuinely moving. The rare addiction memoir that gets better after sobriety takes hold."—New York Times
"An honest and important book...Vivid writing and required reading."—Stephen King
"An astounding triumph...Rings achingly wise and burrows painfully deep...A recovery memoir like no other."—Entertainment Weekly
"Masterful...Essential reading...Although the subject is dark, Jamison has managed to write an often very funny page-turner."—Bookforum
"Spectacularly evocative and sensuous...A compelling, fiercely ambitious book...Its publication represents the most significant new addition to the canon in more than a decade."—The Atlantic
"Lush, almost caressing...Illuminating...What a gift."—NPR
"Profound...Bracingly smart...A remarkable feat."—Time
"Perceptive and generous-hearted...Jamison is a writer of exacting grace."—Washington Post
"Riveting...Beautifully told...Wisdom floods the scene and genius never flees."—Boston Globe
"Bursts with insight...An extraordinary document of self-reckoning that will make you think and rethink the trajectory of your own life."—New Republic
"Gritty...Raw...Thought-provoking and distinct...Fascinating in ways you might not expect."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Brilliant...Jamison is a writer intent on holding nothing back."—Los Angeles Times
"Wonderful...Wholly original...It shines."—USA Today
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Reader Reviews

Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Make It Scream, Make It Burn


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.

ONE OF THE FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS: Time, Entertainment Weekly, O, Oprah Magazine, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Esquire, Seattle Times, Baltimore Sun, BuzzFeed, BookPage, The Millions, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Lit Hub, Women’s Day, AV Club, Nylon, Bustle, Goop, Goodreads, Book Riot, Yahoo! Lifestyle, Pacific Standard, The Week, and Romper.

With the virtuosic synthesis of memoir, criticism, and journalism for which Leslie Jamison has been so widely acclaimed, the fourteen essays in Make It Scream, Make It Burn explore 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. The result is a provocative reminder of the joy and sustenance that can be found in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
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Genre: Fiction / Literary Collections / Essays

On Sale: September 24th 2019

Price: $28 / $35 (CAD)

Page Count: 272

ISBN-13: 9780316259637

What's Inside

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