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“The Collective,” Divided: A Review

*Lillian Li*

Don Lee’s prose is not pretty, or even particularly effortless in his novel. He tends towards wordy, didactic passages and heavy-handed, eye-rolling dialogue—one racist bar customer calls Eric a “Chinese wonton” (297). His characters remain characters, never fully embodying the human beings they wish to represent, and many seem to step in only to move the plot along or provoke an epiphany from the myopic narrator. But in failing to write movingly about ethnicity and/in art, Lee has also managed to succeed.

Query and Response: “The Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison answers Antoni’s implied imperative: use yourself, your emotions and your responses, as an analytical and critical tool. Antoni’s ideas illuminate Jamison’s primary techniques—Antoni and Jamison, perhaps, share a working definition of empathy: empathy as an effort of imagination, effort of intellect; empathy as a door through which to enter art, for reader, viewer, and maker; empathy as inquiry; empathy as the site of analysis; empathy as resistance to tradition or traditional tropes; empathy as choice.