The Collected Schizophrenias (Graywolf Press)
In The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang details her journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood. Written with a sharp analytic eye, which she honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, these essays range from exploring the depths of a rare form of psychosis to how she uses fashion to present as high-functioning; from the failures of the higher education system to the complexity of compounding actors such as PTSD and Lyme disease. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Wang discusses also the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness and examines the ways in which schizophrenia manifests in her own life. Exhaustively researched and deeply moving, The Collected Schizophrenias is an essay collection of undeniable power.
Praise for The Collected Schizophrenias
“Penetrating and revelatory.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Necessary and illuminating. In these elegant essays, Esmé Weijun Wang insightfully dissects the many false stories we tell ourselves about mental and physical illness while investigating her own diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. The Collected Schizophrenias is a brilliant guide to the complexities of thinking about illness, and mental illness, in particular. It will bring hope to others searching to understand their own diagnoses, and the lyric precision of her writing is a solace and pleasure in its own right.”—Meghan O’Rourke
“The Collected Schizophrenias is a masterful braiding of the achingly personal and the incisively researched. With graceful, penetrative intelligence and a strong dose of wit, Esmé Wang creates a container that can hold the complexities and contradictions of her diagnosis, while addressing the larger issue of how our society marginalizes its mentally ill population. This book is a vital, illuminating window onto the world we all already live in, but find all too easy to ignore.”—Alexandra Kleeman
“The Collected Schizophrenias is at once generous and brilliantly nuanced, rigorous and bold. It had me rethinking what it is to be well or ill, and what it means to be in a body—to be, that is, alive. A powerful, extraordinary book.”—R. O. Kwon
“This mesmerizing collection of essays has achieved the rarest of rarities—a meaningful and expansive language for a subject that has been long bound by both deep revulsion and intense fascination.
Brimming with poetry, inquisition, and a big pulsing heart.”—Jenny Zhang
“In this remarkable, riveting collection of essays, Esmé Weijun Wang offers us an all-access pass to her beautiful, unquiet mind in what can only be described as an act of profound generosity. Rarely has a book about living with mental illness felt so immediate, raw, and powerful.”—Dani Shapiro
“Through the wide-angle lens of her own life, Esmé Weijun Wang comprehensively takes in the science, literature, art, institutions, spiritualism, and popular myths of schizophrenia, fashioning a tableau of intense clarity and contrast. You won't find any pity-baiting, sensationalism, or false positivity here; Wang is so candidly aware that I’d trust her over my own diary.”—Tony Tulathimutte
“Esmé Weijun Wang is a generous and deeply intelligent guide through the complexities of illness and understanding of the self.”—Brigid Hughes
“Revelatory dispatches from an under-mapped land. . . . [Wang’s] work changes the way we think about illness—which is to say that it changes us.”—Whiting Award Selection Committee
Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.
Karolina Waclawiak is the author of the critically acclaimed novels How to Get Into the Twin Palms and The Invaders. Her forthcoming novel Life Events will be released by FSG in Spring 2020. Formerly an editor at the Believer, she is now the Executive Editor of Culture at BuzzFeed News.
Photo by Jacquelyn Tierney
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