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“Don’t worry Claire, you have my genes.” This said by my British astrophysicist father when I called to ask why he had failed to disclose my mother’s actual mental health diagnosis for several years. A man so reticent I didn’t even know he held the John D. MacArthur professorship at Caltech until I did a bit of sleuthing for my memoir, A Room with a Darker View: Chronicles of My Mother and Schizophrenia.

“The night before picking up a copy of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays, Esmé Weijun Wang’s essays on the subject of “the full psychotic spectrum” or what are called “the schizophrenias” (4), I anticipated its themes in a threatening dream related to my mother’s struggle with an illness that went undiagnosed for far too long.”

Grateful to Books Editor Joseph Salvatore of The Brooklyn Rail for the opportunity to be in conversation with acclaimed memoirist Emily Rapp Black on the writing of her latest nonfiction book, Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg: a work of great bravura that will undoubtedly find itself a classic among the robust literature on Kahlo.


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