Love and loneliness…
Author: Leslie Jamison
Leslie Jamison has made it. Having published an acclaimed novel in 2010, at the age of 27, followed by a best-selling collection of essays and a riveting memoir, she is now teaching non-fiction writing at Columbia University. It’s been an impressive run and it’s clear that she has yet to encounter a slump, as evidenced by her most recent work, Make it Scream, Make it Burn. A collection of fourteen essays, it displays Jamison’s remarkable talent for deep introspection and vivid, gut-wrenching prose.
Presenting works previously published in a wide array of literary periodicals, the author covers topics as varied as the lonely 52-hertz whale, Sri Lanka and Civil War photography. But whether she’s writing about reincarnation or a California woman who’s spent much of her life photographing a poor Mexican family, her work is never a simple exposé. She consistently manages to weave her personal insights into each essay, tenaciously dissecting her own preconceptions and biases as her adventures unfold. As it has in her previous work, this makes for consistently intriguing reading, no matter the topic.
I think it’s her repeated displays of introspective courage that keep bringing me back for more. Rarely does a writer allow readers such close access to their personal fears and blemishes. She displays this most vibrantly in the last three essays where she writes about her experience as a stepmother, her recent pregnancy and her visit to The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia. Each essay strikingly contrasts both the darkness and the light that permeate the complicated relationships we all struggle with in this modern world.
Revealing her formidable literary skills, time and again, Jamison’s latest collection will undoubtedly please those who’ve been inspired by her previous work. Make it Scream, Make it Burn is sure to impress.
— D. Driftless
Museum photo by Waerfelu (CC BY 3.0)