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Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Make It Scream, Make It Burn

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A combination of memoir, criticism, and journalism, Make It Scream, Make It Burn is Leslie Jamison's 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 specter of reincarnated children; devotees of an online existence called Second Life, to the exclusion of their real lives; Civil War photography; and an entire museum dedicated to relationship breakups. Through these essays and through forays into her own obsessions and longings, Jamison delves into the nature of storytelling itself. We wonder alongside her whether it is ever really possible to hear someone else's story without somehow making it our own, without seeing it through the cracked windows of our private selves.

Throughout these essays, Jamison, who has frequently been compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, shines the spotlight every bit as uncomfortably on herself as she does on others. Unlike the standard journalistic practice, Jamison acknowledges her emotional investment in her subjects, always with utmost clarity and unwavering empathy. In her view, true art cannot be made any other way. Indeed, this refusal to hide—this emotional frankness—is precisely the quality that makes Jamison's questing and irrepressible voice impossible not to fall in love with.

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essays / international / Leslie Jamison / nonfiction /