Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Collected Schizophrenias written and read by Esmé Weijun Wang.
'I've inherited a love of a writing and a talent for the visual arts from my mother, as well as her long and tapered fingers; I've also inherited a tendency for madness'
Esmé Weijun Wang was officially diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2013, although the hallucinations and psychotic episodes had started years before that. In the midst of a high functioning life at Yale, Stanford and the literary world, she would find herself floored by an overwhelming terror that 'spread like blood', or convinced that she was dead, or that her friends were robots, or spiders were eating holes in her brain. What happens when your whole conception of yourself is turned upside down? When you're aware of what is occurring to you, but unable to do anything about it?
Written with immediacy and unflinching honesty, this visceral and moving book is Wang's story, as she steps both inside and outside of her condition to bring it to light. Following her own diagnosis and the many manifestations of schizophrenia in her life, she ranges over everything from how we label mental illness to her own use of fashion and make-up to present herself as high-functioning, from the failures of the higher education system to how factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease compounded her experiences. Wang's analytical, intelligent eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with haunting personal narrative. The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core and provides unique insight into a condition long misdiagnosed and much misunderstood.
Wang's story is devastating... she is wise and eloquent, and heart-rendingly honest on the effects of the illness
Fragmented by design, the book's structure heightens the immediacy of its testimony
Impressive ... we learn what schizophrenia feels like from the inside. Wang strikes a perfect balance between explanation and implication
In Wang's kaleidoscopic essays, memoir has been shattered into sliding and overlapping pieces. . . . The images and insights Wang summons are . . . often dazzling, and well worth the reconstructive work. . . . Her multifaceted arguments can be gratifyingly mind-expanding.
[An] utterly unique book of essays: a deep, illuminating, and explosively written dive into a life of living with mental illness
Wang . . . is an implicitly trustworthy guide to this netherworld of psychosis and chronic illness. . . . Her characteristic nuance more often carries the ring of wisdom, hard won
The Collected Schizophrenias is riveting, honest, and courageously allows for complexities in the reality of what living with illness is like--and we are lucky to have it in the world
[The Collected Schizophrenias is] resoundingly intelligent, often unexpectedly funny, questioning, fearless and peerless, as Wang makes for brilliant company on 13 difficult walks through largely uncharted territory
Going beyond her personal story, Wang applies her experience as a former lab researcher at Stanford to add an analytical perspective to The Collected Schizophrenias, which gives readers an inside look into the often-misunderstood intricacies of mental health
Intimate, urgent, and powerful. . . . Wang writes generously about the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life . . . and lends her keen analysis to the big, ethical questions about how we treat those whose experience of the world differs from ours