This is such a wonderful book: as many Sarah Schulman's novels, Empathy is built on a productive tension between different narrative threads and a multitude of references. It tells the story of Anna, a Jewish lesbian woman from New York's Lower East Side who's seen too many of her friends die of AIDS and is desperate to find a lover that would not be ashamed or insecure about being queer and loving women. Meanwhile, it also unfolds a multi-layered intertextuality, which includes Freudian analysis and its most famous "case studies" about women, but also borrows from Ashkenazi Jewish American literature and especially theater. This allows for a collage of different forms of writing that delves deep into relationships, urban life, individual and collective psyche and politics.
Published May 22, 1993 by Plume.